Warren T. Blume, MD, FRCPC, London Health Sciences Centre, University Campus, Epilepsy Unit; Professor, University of Western Ontario, London, ON.
David J. Harris, LRCP(Lond), MRCS(Eng), FRCPC, MRCPsych, London Health Sciences Centre, South Street Campus, Geriatric Mental Health Program; Associate Professor, University of Western Ontario, London, ON.
Management of epilepsy in an elderly person requires accurate classification of seizures, a sufficient neurologic assessment to define etiology, and awareness of the patient's health and social situation. Treatment with an antiepileptic drug requires an understanding of the general health of the patient and the nature of all medications being given to the patient by other physicians. Effective communication with the patient, spouse, any adult children or other caregivers aims to ensure that all understand the goals of treatment, medication side effects and monitoring methods. Concomitant illness such as neurological, psychiatric, metabolic or cardiac disorders will require individualization of treatment plans.
Key words: epilepsy, elderly, differential diagnosis, management.