Purpose: To examine possible changes over time in the incidence of epilepsy in different age groups.
Methods: Based on the nationwide full-refundable antiepileptic drug register and population register, incidence of newly diagnosed epilepsy was measured by granted full-refundable antiepileptic drugs for epilepsy.
Results: The incidence was throughout all age groups higher in men than in women. The incidence in the total population had significantly declined in 1986-2002, from 71.6/100,000 to 52.9/100,000. The incidence significantly decreased in children (0.77; 0.71-0.84, p<0.0001) and adults (0.83; 0.77-0.89, p<0.0001) but increased in the elderly (1.18; 1.10-1.26, p<0.0001). The increased incidence in the elderly over the time period was primarily seen in women.
Conclusion: The incidence of epilepsy has significantly declined in both children and adults with a concurrent increase in the incidence among the elderly. Further studies are needed to elucidate the precise cause of these temporal changes.