Clinical Edge

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Antiepileptic Drug Treatment for Elderly Examined

Epilepsia; ePub 2017 Feb 7; Martin, et al

Monotherapy is common across all racial/ethnic groups of older adults with new-onset epilepsy, older antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are commonly prescribed, and treatment is frequently delayed, according to a recent study. Researchers conducted retrospective analyses of 2008–2010 Medicare administrative claims for a 5% random sample of beneficiaries augmented for minority representation. They found:

  • Over 1 year of follow-up, 79.6% of 3,706 new epilepsy cases had 1 AED only (77.89% of whites vs 89% of American Indian/Alaska Native [AI/AN]).
  • Quality Indicators of Epilepsy Treatment 6 (QUIET 6) concordance was 94.7% (93.9% for whites to 97.3% of AI/AN).
  • Only 50% received prompt AED therapy (49.6% whites to 53.9% AI/AN).
  • Race/ethnicity was not significantly associated with AED patterns, monotherapy use, or prompt treatment.


Martin RC, Faught E, Szaflarski JP, et al. What does the U.S. Medicare administrative claims database tell us about initial antiepileptic drug treatment for older adults with new-onset epilepsy? [Published online ahead of print February 7, 2017]. Epilepsia. doi:10.1111/epi.13675.