Epilepsy is estimated to occur in 30% to 50% of people with developmental disabilities (DDs).1 Having seizures appears to raise the risk for psychiatric disturbances among DD patients, perhaps reflecting more widespread and severe underlying brain pathology and postictal and interictal psychiatric complications.2

Psychiatric issues thus are an important consideration in the treatment of epilepsy in individuals with developmental disabilities. Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) and other treatment modalities such as vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) may have favorable or adverse psychotropic effects that must be considered in choosing and monitoring a treatment regimen.

Adapted from: Ettinger AB, Barr WB, and Solomon SP. Psychotropic properties of antiepileptic drugs in patients with developmental disabilities. In: Devinsky O and Westbrook LE, eds. Epilepsy and Developmental Disabilities. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann; 2001;219–230. With permission from Elsevier (www.elsevier.com).

Authored By: 
Sanford P. Solomon MD
William B. Barr MD
Alan B. Ettinger MD
Reviewed By: 
Steven C. Schachter MD
Thursday, April 1, 2004