To distinguish between psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) and epilepsy, clinicians may want to find out how often their patients self-report allergies, according to a recent analysis of patient records. The researchers found 905 cases of PNES and 5187 controls who had epilepsy but not PNES. When they compared electronic medical records and ICD-9 codes, and used text-identification algorithms to search EEG reports, they found that patients with PNES were significantly more likely to report allergies than did patients who only had epilepsy (mean 1.93 vs 1.00, P<.001). Each self-report of an allergy increased the association with PNES by 2.98%; in patients reporting 12 or more allergies, 48.2% had PNES, compared to 11.6% in patients reporting no allergies (odds ratio: 6.49). The researchers used self-reported allergies as a marker suggesting psychogenic seizures because they theorized that such concerns may reflect somatization.
Robbins NM, Larimer P, Bourgeois JA, Lowenstein DH. Number of patient-reported allergies helps distinguish epilepsy from psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. Epilepsy Behav. 2016;55:174-177.