Management of juvenile myoclonic epilepsy

Epilepsy Behav. 2013 Jul:28 Suppl 1:S81-6. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2013.01.001.


Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) is a common form of epilepsy and a fairly lifelong disorder that may significantly lower a patient's expectations and potential for a full life. Luckily, it is also a highly treatable disorder, and up to 85% of patients with JME will enjoy satisfactory seizure control. Among anticonvulsants, valproate still stands out as the most efficacious drug, but may be poorly tolerated by some, and is considered unsafe for the fetuses of pregnant women. Alternatives have emerged in recent years, especially levetiracetam, but also topiramate, zonisamide or lamotrigine. In some cases, combination therapy may be useful or even required. One should not forget the potential aggravation induced not only by some commonly used anticonvulsants, especially carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine, but also, in some patients, by lamotrigine. In special settings, older drugs like benzodiazepines and barbiturates may be useful. But the management of JME should also include intervention in lifestyle, with strict avoidance of sleep deprivation and the management of copathologies, including the cognitive and psychiatric problems that are often encountered. With adequate management, there will only remain a small proportion of patients with uncontrolled epilepsy and all of its related problems. Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy is a condition in which the clinician has a fair chance of significantly helping the patient with medication and counseling.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Management*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myoclonic Epilepsy, Juvenile / diagnosis*
  • Myoclonic Epilepsy, Juvenile / therapy*