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EAN 2023 | The challenges of epilepsy and intellectual disability

Christian Brandt, MD, Bielefeld University, Medical School, Bielefeld, Germany, focuses on the unique challenges faced by individuals with epilepsy and intellectual disabilities (ID). This group requires special attention due to their distinct communication needs and potential difficulties in cooperation, such as during MRI examinations. Additionally, persons with epilepsy and intellectual disability tend to have a less favorable prognosis for seizure freedom compared to the general epilepsy population. Approximately 40% of patients with mild intellectual disabilities will become seizure-free, while only around 20% of those with profound ID achieve the same outcome. Furthermore, many patients with epilepsy and ID also suffer from developmental and epileptic encephalopathies. Fortunately, there are now orphan drugs licensed for specific syndromes. For example, cannabidiol and fenfluramine have been licensed for Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a condition associated with a challenging prognosis for seizure freedom. Similar advancements have occurred for Dravet syndrome with the introduction of specific drugs in recent years. This interview took place at the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) 2023 Congress in Budapest, Hungary.

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Christian Brandt reports the following disclosures: Honoraria for speaking or consulting activities from Angelini, Eisai, Equilibre, GW Pharmaceuticals, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Johnson&Johnson, Marinus, UCB Pharma, Xenon and Zogenix.