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Contempo Updates
June 12, 2002

Evolving Treatment Strategies for Epilepsy

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Neurology and Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas.


Contempo Updates Section Editor: Janet M. Torpy, MD, Fishbein Fellow.

JAMA. 2002;287(22):2917-2920. doi:10.1001/jama.287.22.2917

Epilepsy is a common disabling illness. The worldwide prevalence is in the range of 0.5% to 0.9% as assessed by studies in Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Africa.1 Although most patients with epilepsy lead an independent and full life, up to 30% report moderate to marked limitations. They have a high rate of unemployment and underemployment,2 which results in high economic and social costs to patients, their families, and the community at large. The last decade of the 20th century, proclaimed the Decade of the Brain, witnessed remarkable advances on many fronts related to understanding the pathophysiology of epilepsy, the natural history of the disease, as well as important advances in therapeutics. We focus on 3 areas where important developments have occurred in the past 10 years.