Temporal trends in incidence of Rolandic epilepsy, prevalence of comorbidities and prescribing trends: birth cohort study

Arch Dis Child. 2020 Jun;105(6):569-574. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2019-318212. Epub 2020 Jan 14.


Objective: To examine temporal trends in incidence of Rolandic epilepsy (RE), prevalence of comorbidities and antiepileptic drug (AED) prescribing patterns.

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: The UK.

Patients: Children aged 0-16 years born 1994-2012 were followed from birth until September 2017, transfer to another general practitioner practice or death or practice withdrawal from The Health Improvement Network (THIN), whichever occurred first.

Main outcome measures: Incidence of RE, prevalence of comorbidity and AED prescribing patterns. Read codes for comorbidities and AEDs were adapted from other UK population-based epilepsy studies.

Results: There were 379 children with first RE event recorded between 2000 and 2014 from active THIN practices with available mid-year population counts. Crude annual incidence across all years was 5.31/100 000 (95% CI 4.81 to 5.88). There was no significant time trend in adjusted incidence rate ratios (aIRR) (0.99/year, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.02). Males had higher aIRR (1.48, 95% CI 1.20 to 1.82) as did children aged 6-8 and 9-11 years compared with 4-5 years (aIRR 2.43, 95% CI 1.73 to 3.40; aIRR 2.77, 95% CI 1.97 to 3.90, respectively). There was recorded comorbidity in 12% with 6% with a recorded diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorder. Half of children with RE had a record of being prescribed AEDs.

Conclusions: UK incidence of RE has remained stable with crude incidence of 5/100 000/year. Carers and clinicians need to be aware that comorbidities may exist, particularly pervasive developmental disorders. Carbamazepine is consistently the most commonly prescribed AED for RE in the UK.

Keywords: epidemiology; general paediatrics; neurodevelopment; neurology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / epidemiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Epilepsy, Rolandic / drug therapy*
  • Epilepsy, Rolandic / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology


  • Anticonvulsants