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Epilepsy and Neuropsychological Comorbidities

Rudzinski, Leslie A. MD; Meador, Kimford J. MD, FAAN

CONTINUUM: Lifelong Learning in Neurology: June 2013 - Volume 19 - Issue 3, Epilepsy - p 682–696
doi: 10.1212/
Review Articles

Purpose of Review: Epilepsy is a chronic disorder with several associated comorbidities requiring timely recognition and treatment. This article discusses aspects of cognitive impairment; psychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety, and psychosis; and health-related quality-of-life issues pertaining to patients with epilepsy.

Recent Findings: Cognitive problems in epilepsy may be present early in the disease course. Advances in imaging techniques are allowing correlation of structure and function as they relate to cognitive impairment in epilepsy. The relationship between epilepsy, depression, and anxiety is increasingly recognized, and these psychiatric comorbidities may affect suicide risk, patient-reported adverse antiepileptic drug effects, and quality of life. Psychiatric disorders are underrecognized and undertreated in patients with epilepsy.

Summary: Physicians who treat patients with epilepsy should be aware of the major impact that cognitive impairment and psychiatric comorbidities have on these patients. Identifying and treating these comorbidities in epilepsy patients is just as important as seizure treatment.

Address correspondence to Dr Leslie A. Rudzinski, Emory University School of Medicine, 80 Jesse Hill Jr Drive Southeast, Atlanta, Georgia 30300,

Relationship Disclosure: Dr Rudzinski receives a research grant from Baxter. Dr Meador has served as a consultant for the Epilepsy Study Consortium, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc, Medtronic, Inc, NeuroPace, Inc, UCB, Inc, Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc, and Vivus, Inc; and has received travel support for a lecture from Sanofi-Aventis. Dr Meador serves on the editorial boards of Epilepsy and Behavior and Neurology, and receives research grants from the Epilepsy Foundation of America, Cyberonics, Inc, Eisai Co, Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline, Marinus Pharmaceuticals, Myriad Genetics, the NIH, NeuroPace Inc, Pfizer, Inc, SAM Technology, and UCB, Inc.

Unlabeled Use of Products/Investigational Use Disclosure: Drs Rudzinski and Meador report no disclosure.

© 2013 American Academy of Neurology
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