The Department of Neurology, Neurological Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
Epilepsy is a chronic disorder that has been associated with other specific health problems. Evidence from recent clinical and basic investigations indicates that aspects of cerebral dysfunction associated with a lowered seizure threshold may also predispose toward other disorders such as depression, cognitive impairment, sleep disorders, and migraine. Similarly, certain types of brain injury may also increase the risk of adverse antiepileptic drug (AED) effects. For example, a history of febrile seizures is associated with a three fold increase in the occurrence of negative psychiatric effects of two newer AEDs. Poor fitness and obesity are also reported at higher rates in epilepsy. Some comorbid conditions in epilepsy, such a depression and anxiety, may have a greater influence on subjective health status than does seizure rate. Management strategies employed in the outpatient clinic to maximize overall health outcomes should include screening and treatment for the commonly coexistent conditions in persons with epilepsy.