Clinical Neuroscience

[Epilepsy in the elderly]

NIKL János

MARCH 20, 2011

Clinical Neuroscience - 2011;64(03-04)

[The incidence of epilepsy is higher among the elderly, the most rapidly growing segment of the population, than in any other age group. New-onset seizures in elderly patients are typically symptomatic or cryptogenic partial seizures that require long-term treatment. Epilepsy in the elderly is a frequently occuring pathology, differing in etiology, clinical presentation and prognosis from those of young people. Establishing the diagnosis of epilepsy in old age can be more difficult than in younger patients due to the extensive range of differential diagnoses and a higher prevalence of concomitant disease. Beyond a certain age physiological and pathophysiological changes can affect the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of antiepileptic drugs(AEDs), increasing the risk of pharmacological interactions due to polypharmacy. Furthermore, the elderly people are sensitive to advers events of AEDs, as for example, to cognitive disturbances, osteoporosis. Several of newer AEDs have good safety and cognitive effect profiles and have no interactions with other drugs. The treatment strategies are demanding: they must take into consideration the co-morbidity, co-medication, alterations in drug metabolism, and the effects on aging body. These factors make the management of epilepsy in the elderly particulary challenging, but with appropiate pharmacological treatment most elderly people with epilepsy will remain seizurefree.]

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