- In New Zealand, approximately 40 to 50 thousand people are affected by epilepsy, with approximately 2,000 new diagnoses each year. (MOH website, April 2019)
- The Epilepsy Consumer Experience Survey 2018 found – “Common experiences and issues highlighted by the survey included social challenges, anxiety or depression, physical injury, social isolation and being unable to drive for periods of time.”
- About one third of the people with epilepsy have a type that is resistant to anti-epilepsy drugs (AEDs).
- Children and the elderly are more likely to be diagnosed with epilepsy than other age groups.
- Approximately 60 people die from an epilepsy related cause each year.
Adherence to medicines
- Good adherence to anti-epileptic medicines is necessary to maximise a patient’s chance of being seizure free. However, poor adherence is reported in up to half of patients with epilepsy.
- Forgetfulness is a major contributor to patients, or their caregivers, missing doses
- Encourage patients and caregivers to set a routine for taking medicines and to use reminder techniques such as alarms, smart phone apps, medicine blister packs, pill boxes or a diary so that doses are not forgotten
- Education is a key part of helping patients and caregivers understand the need for regular dosing of anti-epileptic medicines
- Simple medicine regimens and 90-day dispensings of medicines can help improve adherence; review a patient’s prescriptions and how often they need to visit a pharmacy to see if changes can be made.
Helping patients with epilepsy adhere to their medicines(external link) BPAC, NZ, 2017
Benefits and risks of taking antiepileptic medicine for females – information for healthcare professionals.(external link) Accident Compensation Corporation, NZ