Antiepileptic drugs are ‘largely safe’ for patients with intellectual disabilities

According to a study by the University of Liverpool, antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are essentially a safe and effective way of giving treatment to people with intellectual disabilities.

14 clinical trials involving 1,116 participants were assessed as part of the study’s research.

People with intellectual disabilities are more prone to having epilepsy than people without them, which is particularly problematic as people with both usually have more complex seizures and treatment is less likely to have an impact on them.

As part of the evidence review it was highlighted that in most cases where AEDs were trialled with people that had intellectual disabilities, they also experienced a small reduction in the number of seizures they had.

Researchers also noted that most patients from the entire cohort had not needed to discontinue treatment which meant that it had not had any adverse effects.

However, the study also stated that there were inconsistencies with the body of research they assessed, meaning that more new studies would have to be carried out and set to standardised rules so as to get a more accurate picture.

The study concluded by saying that: “This review broadly supports the use of AEDs to reduce seizure frequency in people with refractory epilepsy and intellectual disability.

“The evidence suggests that adverse events are similar to those in the general population, and that behavioural adverse events leading to discontinuation are rare; however, other adverse effects are under-researched.”

More information about the study is available in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

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