Mental health

Antiepileptic drug therapy in individuals with intellectual disability and epilepsy

Question 12: Should the treatment be similar in individuals with intellectual disability and epilepsy compared to people with epilepsy only?

Management of epilepsy

  • Population: individuals with epilepsy and intellectual disability
  • Interventions: pharmacologic (standard antiepileptic drugs) and psychosocial treatments
  • Comparison: care as usual
  • Outcomes:
    • seizure reduction
    • quality of life
    • adverse effects of antiepileptic drugs.

Recommendation(s)

People with intellectual disability and epilepsy should have access to the same range of investigations and treatment as the rest of the population.
Strength of recommendation: STRONG

The antiepileptic drug treatment of choice in individuals with intellectual disability and epilepsy should depend on the type of seizure and should be individualized. However, in individuals with epilepsy and intellectual disabilities, when available, one may consider either valproic acid or carbamazepine instead of phenytoin or phenobarbital due to lower risk of behavioural adverse effects.
Strength of recommendation: STANDARD

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