People suffering from epilepsy continue to lack a good quality of life

New York March 27, 2002 New survey data released today reveals that people with hard to control epilepsy experience a poor quality of life, but that many do not proactively pursue new treatments that could help. The Quality of Life in Epilepsy survey, sponsored by Cyberonics, reveals that people with epilepsy are three times more likely to be unemployed than the national average. Almost half of these patients suffer from depression and believe that epilepsy has reduced their daily activities and their personal and professional goals for the future. Three-quarters of the epilepsy patients surveyed strongly believe that even modest improvements in seizure control would significantly improve their daily lives but only one-third of them regularly ask their doctor if new or alternative treatments are available.

The Balance Between Seizure Control and Number of Medications
Only 25 percent of surveyed patients have been seizure-free for the past year, with the remaining 75 percent experiencing an average of 70 seizures each year.

According to an earlier study by Dr. Patrick Kwan and Dr. Martin J. Brodie, which was published in The New England Journal of Medicine, 36 percent of patients with epilepsy have inadequate control of seizures with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs); resulting in substantial deleterious effects on individual health and quality of life and a heavy burden on society. These patients are considered refractory and are in need of another therapy besides medication to gain seizure control. That study concludes that after two failed drug attempts, the likelihood of another drug succeeding is only four percent.

The new survey on quality of life discovered that 65 percent of people with refractory epilepsy have tried between two and five medications, while an additional one-quarter of patients have tried between six and ten. Moreover, half currently experience side effects associated with their medications and fin

Contact: Meaghan Atkinson
Porter Novelli

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