Aimee W. Smith, PhD: Improving Adherence In Epilepsy


The assistant professor of psychology at East Carolina University spoke to the challenges of overcoming adherence issues in patients with epilepsy, for whom it is so vital.

“We know, for example, one thing that works across age groups is problem-solving—specifically identifying what is getting in the way of adherence.”

Despite the essential need for control of their seizures, many patients with epilepsy struggle with adherence. A number of these patients are refractory, and a large group are also younger in age—teenagers and adolescents—making adherence a difficult challenge to tackle for those providing their treatment.

At the 73rd annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society (AES), December 6-10, 2019, in Baltimore, Maryland, NeurologyLive sat down with Aimee W. Smith, PhD, assistant professor of psychology, East Carolina University, to discuss this problem. Her best advice for clinicians is to utilize problem-solving to identify what is obstructing the ability to adhere, and then provide a solution on a patient-by-patient basis.

Smith noted that addressing these challenges, such as patients forgetting to take or being unable to afford medication, or even requiring medication delivery, can all be addressed with a little creativity, and by finding what works for what patient. She explained that for those who forget, sometimes a reminder from friends and family is best, while others may only need a daily cellphone reminder.

For more coverage of AES 2019, click here.

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