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Study finds safe & effective seizure treatment for elderly patients with epilepsy

MIAMI, Fla. and BOSTON University of Miami researchers have found that the anti-epileptic drug (AED) Keppra (levetiracetam) controlled seizures and was well tolerated by more than 70 percent of elderly patients with epilepsy evaluated in a new study. More than a third of the patients in the study age 60 and over became seizure free and 60 percent of them were taking Keppra alone. The results were presented today at the American Epilepsy Society annual meeting, being held this week in Boston.

"Treating elderly patients with epilepsy can be a challenge because they are more sensitive to drug side effects and typically take multiple medications, making the selection of an anti-epileptic therapy that much more difficult," said Eugene Ramsay M.D., director, International Center for Epilepsy, University of Miami School of Medicine and study investigator. "Our study analyzed several age groups, but found Keppra was well tolerated and even more effective in the oldest group analyzed patients 60 years and older."

The rate of epilepsy occurring in the elderly is twice that of people under 65 years of age. Many cases are caused by common conditions such as stroke, heart attack and Alzheimer's disease. Treatment in this population can be complicated by the existence of multiple health conditions and medications. A recent national survey found that more than 90 percent of people age 65 or older--not living in hospitals or institutions -- used at least one medication per week, and more than 40 percent used five or more different medications every week.

Keppra is indicated for the adjunctive treatment of partial onset seizures in adults with epilepsy.

Study Design and Results

This retrospective chart review examined patients treated with Keppra at the International Center for Epilepsy at the University of Miami. The elderly subset previously discussed was part of a larger review that stratified outcomes by a
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Contact: Jeanne Anton Krull
jkrull@med.miami.edu
305-243-4853
American Epilepsy Society
9-Dec-2003


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