According to a recent study, a large proportion of people with epilepsy are not taking their medication as directed by their doctors.The research, conducted at the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences and Oslo University Hospital, aimed to investigate whether prescribed antiepileptic drug (AED) treatment regimens match what patients actually take. It also sought to explore challenges in treatment and the reasons for any discrepancies. The results are published in the medical journal Acta Neurologica Scandinavica.During the study, a questionnaire was distributed to 174 patients and their physicians, at Norway’s National Center for Epilepsy, asking for information about their AEDs and dosages. Twenty subjects were also interviewed face-to-face.The data showed that, for 32% of participants, there was some kind of discrepancy between the prescribed treatment regime and the reality of what the patients actually used. Of the 56 individuals who veered from their prescriptions, some failed to comply with the recommended dose, while in other cases patients and their physicians didn’t agree on which drug they were being prescribed (suggesting a problem with communication).These discrepancies were seen for all of the top ten most commonly-used drugs, and for each a similar distribution of patients reported that they had either exceeded or fallen short of the recommended dosage.The face-to-face interviews helped to shed light on some of the concerns and challenges of AED treatment. The most common issues said to interfere with adherence were unpleasant side effects and the need to take more than one type of drug as part of their prescription. This finding is not new per se, but it adds to evidence that more can be done to encourage patients to comply with their treatment.The research concluded: “Improved communication and information about AEDs may improve adherence and thus treatment outcome.”Click here for more articles about anti-epileptic drugs and pregnancy risks.