J Clin Outcomes Manage
Seizures and epilepsy: an approach to diagnosis and management
Torres MR, Ahern GL, Labiner DM
The following article, “Seizures and Epilepsy: An Approach to Diagnosis and Management” is a continuing medical education (CME) article. To earn credit, read the article and complete the CME test questions on pages 114 and 115. Program Audience Primary care physicians. Educational Needs Addressed A seizure is defined as the clinical manifestation of an abnormal electrical discharge of neurons. Many patients with a single seizure or with recurrent seizures (epilepsy) can be safely and appropriately managed in the primary care setting. In conjunction with a consulting neurologist, the primary care physician can effectively evaluate the patient, select medication when appropriate, and monitor treatment. Physicians must be familiar with diagnostic tests for epilepsy and know when to initiate treatment with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), what risks and benefits are associated with the traditional and newer-generation AEDs, how to monitor patients on AEDs, when to refer to a neurologist or epilepsy center, and when to consider withdrawal of AED therapy. Educational Objectives: 1. Understand the risk of seizure recurrence following a first seizure 2. Recognize that treating a first seizure is not always necessary 3. Understand some of the unique aspects regarding caring for women with epilepsy 4. Describe some of the benefits and risks of using the older and newer antiepileptic medications 5. Understand treatment options for seizure patients who fail medication therapy
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