“Only about 1% or less of patients with drug-resistant epilepsy are referred to specialized epilepsy centers.”
According to the World Health Organization, epilepsy accounts for 1% of the global burden of disease and about 1/3 of that population suffers from drug-resistant epilepsy. According to Jerome Engel, Jr., MD, PhD, Director of the UCLA Seizure Disorder Center, only about 1% or less of patients with drug-resistant epilepsy are referred to specialized epilepsy centers.

Engel explains that oftentimes treating clinicians think that if patients present with many seizures a week or a day and are on medication which reduce seizures to rare occurrences, that it’s good enough, but patients are still disabled. The mantra, according to Engel, should be, no seizures and no side effects as soon as possible, because the sooner the seizures are stopped, the more likely the irreversible psychological and social disabilities that are associated with seizures can be avoided.

To provide additional insight into the importance of referring both pediatric and adult patients with seizures to epilepsy centers, NeurologyLive sat down with Engel, the Jonathan Sinay Distinguished Professor of neurology, neurobiology, psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, at the American Epilepsy Society in New Orleans, Louisiana.