Purpose: The main purpose of this prospective study was to analyze whether 1 year of treatment was as effective as 3 years with respect to remission rate in children with idiopathic epilepsy.
Methods: Treatment for epileptic seizures was started in 207 children aged 2-16 years. They were randomized to treatment for 1 or 3 years. At the end of the predetermined treatment period, 161 children had been seizure-free for 6 months and the treatment could be gradually withdrawn.
Results: The overall remission rate in our group of patients was significantly higher (71%) in the group treated for 3 years than in the group treated for 1 year (53%). However, comparison of remission rates between patients with different seizure types showed statistically significant differences in outcome depending on duration of treatment only in children with complex partial seizures (CPS).
Conclusions: Our results show that 1 year of treatment can be recommended in children with benign partial epilepsy with rolandic spikes (BECT) and in children with simple partial seizures (SPS) but is clearly insufficient in children with CPS. A proper seizure classification is one important tool, although not sufficient, in offering recommendations concerning the duration of treatment in children with idiopathic epilepsy.