chapter  19
7 Pages

Anticonvulsvant Drugs and Cognitive Functions in Elderly Patients with Epilepsy

WithFrancesco Monaco, Cristoforo Comi

The special management problems of elderly people with epilepsy are receiving increasing attention, and because populations are aging in the developed countries, the problem of the occurrrence of new cases of epilepsy in the elderly population is quite relevant. Adults with epilepsy are often confronted with a complex array of psychological and psychosocial challenges. The cognitive difficulties noted in individuals with epilepsy may occur in one or several domains, including attention, speeed of mental processing, memory and learning, executive function and school achievement. Partial seizures are more common in elderly people than generalized ones, so that psychiatric manifestations of temporal lobe epilepsy in older adults may be represented by changes in behavior or cognition, mistakenly ascribed to “normal aging.” Cognitive impairment is more evident in patients with complex partial seizures who have recurrent prolonged seizures. Cognitive deficits might correlate with subclinical epileptic activity, frequently associated with interictal electroencephalographic abnormalities.