Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

© 2021 Elsevier Inc. Objective: To compare withdrawal of antiseizure medications (ASM) to continued treatment in newly diagnosed individuals achieving seizure freedom, and assess the risk of relapse and factors associated with relapse. Methods: This is a multicenter retrospective cohort study with long-term follow-up. Patients with newly diagnosed epilepsy were identified from the medical records of 13 Italian epilepsy centers and followed up until the most recent visit or death. Seizure-free patients discontinuing treatment were compared to patients who maintained treatment for baseline characteristics. Treatment was stopped upon clinical judgment. The probability of relapse was calculated with the Kaplan–Meier method. Demographic, clinical, and instrumental variables associated with relapse were assessed with Cox proportional hazards models. Results: One thousand and six patients aged 1 month to 72 years at diagnosis were enrolled and followed up for 17,892 person-years (median follow-up, 9.9 years). Three hundred and twenty patients (31.8%) underwent one or more treatment discontinuations. Factors associated with ASM withdrawal were younger age at remission and normal psychiatric examination. The probability of relapse after the first withdrawal was 16% at six months, 24% at 12 months, and 36%, 45%, and 53% at three, five, and ten years, respectively. The probability of remission after the first relapse was 59% at one month, 67%, 72, and 76% at three, six, and 12 months, respectively. Variables associated with relapse were age 14+ years, structural etiology, abnormal neuroimaging, ASM initiation after a single seizure, and symptomatic/cryptogenic epilepsy. Conclusions: About one half of seizure-free patients stopping ASM relapse in 10 years. However, the possibility of remission after relapse is high, particularly in children and patients with idiopathic/cryptogenic epilepsy. Treatment deprescription might be encouraged at least in these patients.

Original publication




Journal article


Epilepsy and Behavior

Publication Date