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Significance of the EEG and Epileptiform Abnormalities in Antiepileptic Drug Discontinuance

Britton, Jeffrey W.

Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology: August 2010 - Volume 27 - Issue 4 - p 249-254
doi: 10.1097/WNP.0b013e3181eaa620
Invited Review

The question of the advisability of antiepileptic drug (AED) discontinuance is common in epilepsy care. With currently available therapies, prolonged periods of seizure remission are not uncommon. After a prolonged period of seizure freedom, patients and clinicians often begin to wonder whether therapy can be discontinued. The AED discontinuance literature shows relapse rates ranging from 20% to 60%. Factors with prognostic significance have been recognized, including several findings identified on the routine EEG. This article reviews the role of EEG in the setting of AED discontinuance and summarizes the literature describing the prognostic value of EEG.

From the Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.A.

Britton has received honorarium for participation in a leadership conference for Cyberonics, Inc.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Jeffrey W. Britton, M.D., Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, U.S.A.; e-mail:

Copyright © 2010 American Clinical Neurophysiology Society