Objective: To analyze the impact of seizures on everyday life and the long-term effects of epilepsy on health status and psychosocial outcomes. Methods: Follow-up study was conducted of a cohort of consecutive patients newly diagnosed with epilepsy between 1953 and 1967. In 1995 (mean follow-up 34 years), a random sample of 333 patients received a questionnaire asking clinical and demographic information and validated measures for psychosocial outcomes. Comparisons were made with the general Dutch population. Results: The response rate was 73% (116 men and 127 women); mean age was 49.9 years (SD 11.2 years). Mean age at epilepsy onset was 15 years (SD 11 years); mean duration was 24.4 years (SD 13.1 years). In total, 134 (55%; 72 men and 62 women) patients were seizure-free for the previous 5 years, and 81 patients still had seizures in the last year. One hundred twenty-seven patients were taking antiepileptic drugs, of which 51 were on monotherapy. Epilepsy patients have a positive health evaluation, comparable with the general Dutch population. Fewer epilepsy patients married or had children than the general Dutch population; more patients live at home with their parents or in foster homes or institutions (p < 0.001). Having epilepsy at school age has a significant negative effect on learning achievement (p < 0.01). Employment status is affected less, though more epilepsy patients are unfit to work than individuals from the general population (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Epilepsy has a marked negative impact on education and achievement in later life. Despite worse psychosocial outcomes than the Dutch population, patients with epilepsy cope well with their epilepsy, regardless of their handicaps.
|Number of pages||7|
|State||Published - 8 Jul 2003|