What is the prognosis of absence seizures?

Updated: Sep 25, 2018
  • Author: Scott Segan, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
  • Print
Answer

Answer

The prognosis for the primary generalized epilepsies depends on the particular epileptic syndrome. Because seizures, particularly generalized tonic-clonic seizures, may occur well after patients appear to achieve good control, a long seizure-free period should be achieved before discontinuation of therapy is considered.

The remission rate for childhood absence epilepsy is good; 80% of patients respond to medication. Complete remission rates vary widely, perhaps dependent on the length of follow-up.

Generalized tonic-clonic seizures may develop in up to 40% of children with childhood absence epilepsy. [26] Persistence of seizures is more likely in those with generalized tonic-clonic seizures.

Early onset of absence seizures, quick response to therapy, [52] and normal EEG background are good prognostic signs.

Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy carries a high risk of generalized tonic-clonic seizures. Despite excellent control with relatively small doses of an AED, the relapse rate is greater than 90%. [53]

Patients with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy generally need to be treated for life, although occasional patients achieve control with careful attention to lifestyle issues (eg, adequate sleep, abstinence from alcohol).


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!