Children who have been recently diagnosed as epileptics miss out in taking their medication regularly, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study that included 124 children with newly diagnosed epilepsy at Cincinnati Children's New Onset Seizure Clinic discovered that 60 per cent of these children did not adhere to the prescribed therapy even during the first six months of treatment. Their levels of non-adherence were graded as mild, moderate or severe. The grade of their non-adherence was evident even during the first month of the treatment.
Parents and other caregivers were responsible for the adherence or non-adherence to treatments in children, but what influences them needs to be studied further.
Medications were given to the adults, in special bottles that electronically monitored when and how often the drugs were given to the young patients. They were also questioned about issues that could affect medication adherence, such as family characteristics, patient seizure frequency, and medication side effects. What emerged were the patterns of adherence.
42% of the patients were almost always given their medications as prescribed and 13% had very poor adherence right from the beginning.
Another 13% of patients were moderate non-adherers, showing significant variability in dosing over the six months of observation and missing an average of four out of 14 doses in any given week.
7% of patients initially gave the medication correctly 90% of the time, but adherence dropped to around 20% within six months of starting treatment.
Avani C. Modi, the study's researcher states that the adults failed to give the medication because they forget or they believe that their child does not need it or for certain reasons decide to lower the prescribed doses. The research revealed that low socioeconomic status led to low treatment adherence.
Education and better awareness of the importance of medication would help in dealing with the problem of childhood epilepsy.