Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy

Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2007 Dec;65(4B):1266-71. doi: 10.1590/s0004-282x2007000700036.


Juvenile myoclonus epilepsy (JME) is a common epileptic syndrome, the etiology of which is genetically determined. Its onset occurs from 6 through 22 years of age, and affected patients present with myoclonic jerks, often associated with generalized tonic-clonic seizures - the most common association - and absence seizures. JME is non-progressive, and there are no abnormalities on clinical examination or intellectual deficits. Psychiatric disorders may coexist. Generalized polyspike-and-waves are the most characteristic electroencephalographic pattern. Usual neuroimaging studies show no abnormalities. Atypical presentations should be entertained, as they are likely to induce misdiagnosis. Prevention of precipitating factors and therapy with valproic acid (VPA) are able to control seizures in the great majority of patients. Whenever VPA is judged to be inappropriate, other antiepileptic drugs such as lamotrigine may be considered. Treatment should not be withdrawn, otherwise recurrences are frequent.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electroencephalography
  • Humans
  • Lamotrigine
  • Myoclonic Epilepsy, Juvenile* / diagnosis
  • Myoclonic Epilepsy, Juvenile* / drug therapy
  • Myoclonic Epilepsy, Juvenile* / etiology
  • Triazines / therapeutic use
  • Valproic Acid / therapeutic use


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Triazines
  • Valproic Acid
  • Lamotrigine