According to a new study published in the Journal of Patient Preferences and Adherence, patient-reported medication adherence has potential as a quality indicator in the care of people with epilepsy.To assess whether addressing the side effects caused by antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) at every visit to the neurologist increases patient-reported medication adherence, a team of researchers led by Dr Daniel Hoch, at Harvard Medical School, identified 243 adults with epilepsy who were seen at two academic hospitals. All had had at least two visits to the hospital over a period of three years.In order determine whether AED side effects were addressed at the visits, the researchers conducted phone interviews with the participants and also analysed their medical records.A total of 62 subjects (25%) completed the phone interviews. According to their medical records, AED side effects were addressed in 48 (77%) them; however the phone interviews themselves revealed this number to be 51 (82%).Twenty-eight of the participants (45%) reported complete adherence to medication. Amongst the remaining 34 subjects, the most common reason for incomplete adherence (reported by 31 or 91%) was missing medication due to forgetfulness.The team found no evidence (based on either the medical records or interview data) that addressing AED side effects increased the likelihood of (self-reported) complete medication adherence. They conclude from this that addressing side effects at every visit doesn’t have a positive impact on(self-reported) adherence, but they make the following recommendation: “Addressing AED side effects remains a neglected part of epilepsy care and should be incorporated in the devel­opment of a model that can predict quality of care.”Author: Dr Özge ÖzkayaClick here to read more stories about living with epilepsy.