Treatment of epilepsy in children with developmental disabilities

Dev Disabil Res Rev. 2010;16(3):239-47. doi: 10.1002/ddrr.116.


Children with developmental disabilities are at increased risk for epilepsy with a prevalence rate higher than the general population. Some of the more common developmental disorders in childhood and the features of epilepsy in these conditions are discussed. Specifically, autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder are reviewed. Ideal treatment for developmentally-disabled children with epilepsy entails maximal seizure control without any significant adverse effects from the anti-epileptic drugs and good quality of life. Antiepileptic drugs' cognitive and behavioral adverse effects tend to occur more frequently in these children. Careful selection of the appropriate medication and close monitoring for drug adverse effects is important. The specific adverse effects of the older and newer antiepileptic drugs are also reviewed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / drug therapy
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / epidemiology
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Developmental Disabilities / diagnosis
  • Developmental Disabilities / drug therapy*
  • Developmental Disabilities / epidemiology
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug Monitoring
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Electroencephalography / drug effects
  • Epilepsy / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy*
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / diagnosis
  • Intellectual Disability / drug therapy
  • Intellectual Disability / epidemiology
  • Prognosis
  • Video Recording


  • Anticonvulsants