Adults taking eplileptic medications more likely to be unemployed

A study published in the journal Epilepsia shows higher unemployment and a lower health-related quality of life (QoL) in patients who had epilepsy as a child.

"Strikingly, in self reports, the health-related quality of life was not determined by good or bad psychosocial function or having, or not having, seizures, but rather by whether or not they were taking long-term antiepileptic drug therapy," said lead researcher, Matti Sillanp of the University of Turku.

Researchers revisited a group of 99 adults, originally from a group of 245 pediatric patients, 30 years after having active epilepsy. 67% were in remission off medication while 14% were still taking antiepileptic drugs (AED). However, the study found that whether or not they were in remission, those patients still taking long-term AED therapy showed higher rates of unemployment and lower socioeconomic status. Subjects off medication had results similar to those of the control group. Both groups had lower rates of marriage and having had children than the control. The study notes that differences in employment and socioeconomic status are not attributable to differences in educational status.

"Maybe the most important feature [of this study] is that it is a very long-term follow-up period of children with epilepsy, and children with uncomplicated epilepsy in particular, which allows the examination of the effects of epilepsy itself on the whole life of an individual," added Dr. Sillanp. "Similar recent studies are not available."

As evidenced by the study, childhood-onset epilepsy has a long-term adverse effect on QoL and being on medication may be a marker for other adverse effects, such as stigma.


Contact: Sharon Agsalda
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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