Opinion of Belgian neurologists on antiepileptic drugs : Belgian study on epilepsy treatment (BESET)
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
Acta neurologica Scandinavica. - Copenhagen
, p. 97-103
University of Antwerp
Objectives - To describe the choice of treatment in adult patients with epilepsy in Belgium, to detect the presence or absence of consensus among neurologists in epilepsy treatment, and to analyze the gaps between current guidelines and prescriptions. Materials and methods - Hundred Belgian neurologists were systematically interviewed between May and June 2003 using a structured questionnaire (modified Rand method). Results - Initial monotherapy was the preferred treatment strategy. Valproate was the first choice in idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE) and carbamazepine in focal epilepsy (FE). The new antiepileptic drugs (AED) were usually recommended in second-line. However, in special treatment situations, they were considered first-line, e.g., lamotrigine in case of women of childbearing age. Conclusions - Neurologists reached consensus for most questions on epilepsy treatment. In 2003, monotherapy with valproate and carbamazepine was the common treatment strategy in Belgium, whereas lamotrigine and to a lesser extent levetiracetam, topiramate, and oxcarbazepine were predominantly prescribed in second-line. This is in agreement with the recently published UK epilepsy guidelines but not in agreement, however, with the US guidelines, that for new onset epilepsy, new and old drugs are equally effective. Belgian neurologists, except for some special situations still prefer old drugs as first line.