Epilepsy is among the commonest neurological disorders. Its clinical picture is characterized by the predisposition to develop recurrent epileptic seizures. An epileptic seizure is due to an alteration of the electrical activity of cerebral neurons.
Patients with epilepsy often experience negative feelings such as embarrassment, shame, fear and insecurity, a true stigma. For this reason, the WHO (World Health Organization) defines epilepsy as a social disease. Due to the burden that this condition causes on so many aspects of patients’ life, including school performances, stress at workplace, quality of social life, there are multiple awareness-raising campaigns which aim is to spread the knowledge about this condition.
Children and the elderly are the most common groups of patients affected by epilepsy.
Often, it is difficult to find a precise cause of epilepsy. Multiple factors, including genetic and environmental, and medical comorbidities contribute to its development.
To reach a precise diagnosis is a difficult process. It requires careful medical evaluations and instrumental testing (EEGs, CT scans and MRIs).
After the diagnosis of epilepsy has been reached, the therapeutic approach includes the use of the so called anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs). These drugs aim at reducing the risk of recurrence of epileptic seizures.
Several therapeutic options are at disposal for the disease management. It is important looking for drugs easy to use and with a right balanced profile of efficacy and safety.
The evaluation of the pharmacological approach must take into account:
- The type of seizure
- The risk of recurrences
- The patient profile (e.g. children, pregnant women and the elderly).
Among the most important factors to determine the efficacy of the treatment we can consider crucial the adherence and the partnership between patients, caregivers and physicians.