Adults taking eplileptic medications more likely to be unemployed

December 02, 2004

A study published in the journal Epilepsia shows higher unemployment and a lower health-related quality of life (QoL) in patients who had epilepsy as a child.

"Strikingly, in self reports, the health-related quality of life was not determined by good or bad psychosocial function or having, or not having, seizures, but rather by whether or not they were taking long-term antiepileptic drug therapy," said lead researcher, Matti Sillanpää of the University of Turku.

Researchers revisited a group of 99 adults, originally from a group of 245 pediatric patients, 30 years after having active epilepsy. 67% were in remission off medication while 14% were still taking antiepileptic drugs (AED). However, the study found that whether or not they were in remission, those patients still taking long-term AED therapy showed higher rates of unemployment and lower socioeconomic status. Subjects off medication had results similar to those of the control group. Both groups had lower rates of marriage and having had children than the control. The study notes that differences in employment and socioeconomic status are not attributable to differences in educational status.

"Maybe the most important feature [of this study] is that it is a very long-term follow-up period of children with epilepsy, and children with uncomplicated epilepsy in particular, which allows the examination of the effects of epilepsy itself on the whole life of an individual," added Dr. Sillanpää. "Similar recent studies are not available."

As evidenced by the study, childhood-onset epilepsy has a long-term adverse effect on QoL and being on medication may be a marker for other adverse effects, such as stigma.
This study is published in Epilepsia. Media wishing to receive a PDF of the article contact

About the Author

Matti Sillanpää, M.D., Ph.D., is a retired Professor of Child Neurology, but a current Senior Research Scientist at theUniversity of Turku, Turku, Finland. Dr. Sillanpää is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Epileptic Disorders and is Co-Chair of the 7th European Congress on Epileptology 2006. Dr. Sillanpää has written over 50 original papers on epilepsy, worked on 10 books and many popular papers on epilepsy as well. He is available for questions and interviews and can be reached at

About Epilepsia

Epilepsia is the leading, most authoritative source for current clinical and research results on all aspects of epilepsy. As the journal of the International League Against Epilepsy, Epilepsia presents subscribers with scientific evidence and clinical methodology in: clinical neurology, neurophysiology, molecular biology, neuroimaging, neurochemistry, neurosurgery, pharmacology, neuroepidemiology, and therapeutic trials. Each monthly issue features original peer reviewed articles, progress in epilepsy research, brief communications, editorial commentaries, special supplements, meeting reports, book reviews, and announcements.

About the International League Against Epilepsy

The International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) was founded in Budapest in September 1909. It has branches now in 92 countries and over 15,000 members. It is a non-profit and non-governmental association, with official links with the World Health Organization and the International Bureau for Epilepsy. It is the world's preeminent association of physicians and other health professionals working towards a world where no persons' life is limited by Epilepsy. Its mission is to provide the highest quality of care and well-being for those afflicted with the condition and other related seizure disorders. For information on epilepsy and education, please visit for a patient brochure under the "resources" link.

About Blackwell Publishing

Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with more than 550 academic and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 750 journals and 600 text and reference books annually, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects.

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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