Childhood epilepsy generally has favorable long-term prognosis

July 1, 2010

Children with newly diagnosed epilepsy generally have favorable outcomes, according to new research.

Children with newly diagnosed epilepsy generally have favorable outcomes, and those with epilepsy of an idiopathic etiology will usually achieve remission, according to research published online June 14 in Epilepsia.

Investigators studied the course and outcome of childhood-onset epilepsy in 413 children for a mean of 14.8 years. Among study participants, 71% achieved 5-year terminal remission. The disease course was favorable in 50% of the patients, improving in 29%, and poor or deteriorating in 16%. The mean duration of seizure activity was 6 years. Over the study period, 86% of patients used antiepileptic drugs. By the end of follow-up, 9% of the patients had intractable disease. Predictors of intractable disease included nonidiopathic etiology, febrile seizures, no 3-month remission, and early intractability.

The authors concluded that "the long-term prognosis of epilepsy is favorable, and in particular, patients with idiopathic etiology will eventually reach remission."