Epilepsy in elderly people

Lancet. 2000 Apr 22;355(9213):1441-6. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(00)02149-8.


The prevalence and incidence of epilepsy are highest in later life with around 25% of new cases occurring in elderly people, many of whom will have concomitant neurodegenerative, cerebrovascular, or neoplastic disease. Difficulties accepting the diagnosis are frequently compounded by its unpredictable nature. Those affected commonly lose confidence and independence. Seizures in older people can result in physical injury, adding to low morale. Complete control is achievable in around 70% of patients with antiepileptic drug treatment. Optimum management requires rapid investigation, accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, sympathetic education, and assured support. The emergence of seizure disorders in old age places an increasing burden on health-care facilities and costs. A coordinated programme among health-care workers is advised to maintain the independence and improve the quality of life of this vulnerable patient population.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health
  • Epilepsy* / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy* / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy* / epidemiology
  • Epilepsy* / psychology
  • Health Services for the Aged
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Long-Term Care
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Primary Health Care
  • Prognosis
  • Quality of Life