The epidemiology of epilepsy in Europe - a systematic review

Eur J Neurol. 2005 Apr;12(4):245-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2004.00992.x.


Population-based epidemiological studies on epilepsy are available mainly from the UK and the Nordic, Baltic and western Mediterranean countries. No studies were identified from large areas of Europe, especially from the former eastern Europe (except the Baltic countries) and the eastern Mediterranean countries. Based on the prevalence of epilepsy in different studies and accounting for incomplete case identification the estimated number of children and adolescents in Europe with active epilepsy is 0.9 million (prevalence 4.5-5.0 per 1000), 1.9 million in ages 20-64 years (prevalence six per 1000) and 0.6 million in ages 65 years and older (prevalence seven per 1000). Approximately 20-30% of the epilepsy population have more than one seizure per month. Based on the age-specific incidence rates in European studies, the estimated number of new cases per year amongst European children and adolescents is 130,000 (incidence rate 70 per 100,000), 96,000 in adults 20-64 years (incidence rate 30 per 100,000) and 85,000 in the elderly 65 years and older (incidence 100 per 100,000). The proportion of both new and established cases with epilepsy in the young, adults and elderly in individual countries may differ substantially from total European distribution because of differences in age structure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Epilepsy / classification
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology*
  • Epilepsy / etiology
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Sex Distribution