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.

Drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE) is defined by the International League Against Epilepsy as a failure of adequate trials of two tolerated, appropriately chosen, and used antiepileptic drugs to achieve sustained seizure freedom. Our aim was to calculate the following: (1) the prevalence of active epilepsy and DRE in a well-defined population of Northern Italy and (2) the proportion of incident cases developing DRE. The study population (146,506; year 2008) resided in the province of Lecco, Northern Italy. The medical records of 123 general practitioners were reviewed to identify patients with epilepsy, diagnosed by a neurologist during the period 2000-2008. The point prevalence of active epilepsy and DRE was calculated on December 31, 2008. A total of 747 prevalent patients with epilepsy, 684 patients with active epilepsy, and 342 incident cases were identified. The frequency of DRE was 15.6% (107/684) of all active epilepsies and 10.5% (36/342) of incident cases. The point prevalence was 0.73 per 1000. The standardized prevalence of DRE was 0.7 per 1000 (Italian population) and 0.8 per 1000 (world population). Our data indicate that 1/6 patients with active epilepsy in the general population has DRE, and 1/10 patients with newly diagnosed epilepsy will develop DRE within nine years from the diagnosis.

Original publication




Journal article


Epilepsy Behav

Publication Date





30 - 37


Drug resistance, Epilepsy, Medical practitioners, Prevalence, Adolescent, Adult, Age Factors, Aged, Child, Child, Preschool, Cross-Sectional Studies, Disease Progression, Drug Resistant Epilepsy, Epilepsy, Female, General Practice, Humans, Incidence, Infant, Italy, Male, Middle Aged, Population, Prevalence, Primary Health Care, Retrospective Studies, Young Adult