Brian Sullivan

Epilepsy is a major health problem affecting 50 million people around the world according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Despite the widespread nature of this condition, a precise global definition of treatment resistant epilepsy has remained elusive. This has resulted in diverse criteria being used by clinicians and researchers making it difficult to compare results across studies and to make recommendations for clinical practice.

A global consensus definition of treatment resistant epilepsy was offered at the Redefining Treatment Resistant Epilepsy Symposium.

The Symposium was held at the 63th meeting of the American Epilepsy in Boston.

In offering this new definition the global epilepsy the panel of international experts from developed and developing countries hopes to improve patient care and better facilitate clinical research.

It is hoped this will reduce unproductive practices in managing the disorder.

While it might appear obvious when epilepsy in a patient is refractory or resistant to treatment, however until now there has been no precise definition for doctors and medical researchers to make this determination.

This has resulted in a variety of standards effecting how many different medications are tried, how long each trial period should be, and when a patient should be referred to a specialist epilepsy center.

"Our aim in offering this new definition is to develop common criteria that will have global impact in improving patient care," said Dr. Samuel Wiebe, Director of the University of Calgary Epilepsy Program and Chair of the North American Commission of the ILAE.

"We hope that the global research and patient care community will embrace this new definition so that a greater number of people with epilepsy will become seizure free."

The symposium, entitled Redefining Treatment Resistant Epilepsy, is supported by a special grant from Lundbeck Inc. and is presented in collaboration with the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE).
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