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Feature Article

A practical guide to the management of epilepsy

Mark R Newton

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Abstract

Approaches to treating epilepsy are being increasingly refined as more is understood about the different syndromes and their response to drugs. Aiming medication and counselling at the specific epilepsy syndrome will lead to best management.

Key Points

  • The prognosis of epilepsy varies widely and depends on the specific epilepsy syndrome.
  • Some self-limiting syndromes do not demand treatment.
  • Lifestyle counselling should be complemented by input from local epilepsy support associations.
  • Driving restrictions often have the greatest impact on psychosocial function.
  • Knowledge of the most commonly used antiepileptic medications is essential in guiding therapy.
  • There are special needs according to age and gender.
  • A small group of refractory patients will benefit from referral to specialist epilepsy clinics.

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