Active Epilepsy and Seizure Control in Adults — United States, 2013 and 2015
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Active Epilepsy and Seizure Control in Adults — United States, 2013 and 2015

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  • Alternative Title:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
  • Description:
    Approximately 3 million American adults reported active epilepsy* in 2015 (1). Active epilepsy, especially when seizures are uncontrolled, poses substantial burdens because of somatic, neurologic, and mental health comorbidity; cognitive and physical dysfunction; side effects of antiseizure medications; higher injury and mortality rates; poorer quality of life; and increased financial cost (2). Thus, prompt diagnosis and seizure control (i.e., seizure-free in the 12 months preceding the survey) confers numerous clinical and social advantages to persons with active epilepsy. To obtain recent and reliable estimates of active epilepsy and seizure control status in the U.S. population, CDC analyzed aggregated data from the 2013 and the 2015 National Health Interview Surveys (NHISs). Overall, an annual estimated 2.6 million (1.1%) U.S. adults self-reported having active epilepsy, 67% of whom had seen a neurologist or an epilepsy specialist in the past year, and 90% of whom reported taking epilepsy medication. Among those taking epilepsy medication, only 44% reported having their seizures controlled. A higher prevalence of active epilepsy and poorer seizure control were associated with low family income, unemployment, and being divorced, separated, or widowed. Use of epilepsy medication was higher among adults who saw an epilepsy specialist in the past year than among those who did not. Health care and public health should ensure that adults with uncontrolled seizures have appropriate care and self-management support in order to promote seizure control, improve health and social outcomes, and reduce health care costs.
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