Monitoring the cognitive effects of antiepileptic pharmacotherapy--approaching the individual patient.


Cognitive side effects of antiepileptic drugs are common and can negatively affect tolerability, compliance, and long-term retention of the treatment. Furthermore, adverse cognitive effects of pharmacotherapy significantly affect everyday functioning and quality of life. Consequently, preservation of cognitive functions is an important aspect of epilepsy therapy. Knowledge of the patient's neuropsychological status before and after pharmacological interventions can help to decide on the appropriate treatment and, thus, can potentially improve individual medical care. Here, we suggest that cognitive monitoring of antiepileptic pharmacotherapy--like the assessment of seizure frequency, blood serum levels, electroencephalography or structural imaging--should be carried out as a matter of routine. In contrast to subjective measures, there are only very few neuropsychological instruments explicitly validated for the assessment of cognition along with antiepileptic pharmacotherapy. This review (1.) outlines indications and requirements for individual cognitive monitoring, (2.) discusses available diagnostic tools, and (3.) discloses relevant pitfalls. Neuropsychology, as demonstrated, provides evidence-based methods for monitoring cognitive effects of individual pharmacological treatments and, therefore, serves as a valuable tool for the quality and outcome control of antiepileptic therapies.

DOI: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2012.09.015
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@article{Witt2013MonitoringTC, title={Monitoring the cognitive effects of antiepileptic pharmacotherapy--approaching the individual patient.}, author={Juri-Alexander Witt and Christoph Helmstaedter}, journal={Epilepsy & behavior : E&B}, year={2013}, volume={26 3}, pages={450-6} }