Specificities of medical antiepileptic treatment in adolescence Volume 21, issue 2, avril-mai-juin 2009


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The management of antiepileptic drug-therapy and medical care for epileptic adolescents must follow the basic principles of treatment of an epileptic people just as in any patient. Nevertheless adolescents have some peculiar characteristics and specific needs which physicians and caregivers have to take into account carefully. Due to important physiological, psychological and biographical changes specific to adolescence, teenagers - especially those without disability - have often heavy difficulties to deal with their epilepsy and its daily life consequences. Some side-effects of antiepileptic drugs, very troublesome for adolescents, are crucial to consider for the choice and during the follow-up of the treatment. The daily dose must be adjusted according the age and the bodyweight ; the more the daily prescription is simple, the more the compliance would be better. In girls, the interactions between antiepileptic therapy and contraception on one hand, and a possible future plan of pregnancy on the other hand must be always kept in mind. But, above at all, it is of a paramount importance to build with the young patient a very confident relationship and to explain the reasons, the definite benefits and the potential constraints of the treatment. In addition multi-disciplinary care must be organized if necessary.