“When we think about addressing epilepsy, we want to stop their seizures or reduce them as much as we can, and we want to make sure we do that with minimal or no side effects. But a lot of times, we forget about this third piece: quality of life.”

When treating individuals with epilepsy, physicians are often faced with patients who have challenging, refractory disease. With many patients on concomitant antiepileptic drugs, the focus on seizure reduction—and hopefully, seizure freedom—is often paramount. But what sometimes falls to the wayside is the patient’s quality of life with the condition.

Aimee W. Smith, PhD, assistant professor of psychology, East Carolina University, focuses much of her practice and research on improving patient adherence and quality of life. She describes quality of life as “the patient’s perspective of how things are going generally in the context of their lives.” This includes their social experiences and challenges in daily activities.

At the 73rd annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society (AES), December 6-10, 2019, in Baltimore, Maryland, NeurologyLive sat down with Smith to inquire about how quality of life can be improved for patients who often struggle to experience improvement in the main focus of their treatment: seizure reduction.

Smith offered insight into what resources are available to physicians and providers and what techniques can be useful to help patients have a better quality of life in light of refractory and uncontrolled seizures.

For more coverage of AES 2019, click here.