Clinical trials on Childhood Absence Epilepsy

Understanding Childhood Absence Epilepsy

Childhood Absence Epilepsy (CAE) is a form of epilepsy that typically manifests in children between the ages of 4 and 8 years. It is characterized by brief, sudden lapses in awareness or consciousness, known as absence seizures. During these episodes, a child may appear to be staring blankly into space for a few seconds, with little to no warning, and then resume normal activity immediately afterward. These seizures are so brief and subtle that they often go unnoticed or are mistaken for daydreaming or inattentiveness.

The diagnosis of CAE is primarily based on the child’s medical history and characteristic findings on an electroencephalogram (EEG), which records the electrical activity of the brain. Treatment typically involves anti-seizure medications, which are effective in controlling seizures in the majority of cases. However, it’s crucial for parents and caregivers to understand that while many children outgrow CAE by their teenage years, ongoing monitoring and support from a healthcare team are essential to manage the condition effectively and minimize its impact on a child’s life.

  • Key Characteristics: Sudden, brief lapses in consciousness, often mistaken for daydreaming.
  • Diagnosis: Based on medical history and EEG results.
  • Treatment: Primarily anti-seizure medications.

Prognosis for Childhood Absence Epilepsy

Childhood Absence Epilepsy is a neurological condition characterized by brief, sudden lapses in awareness, often resembling daydreaming. The long-term prospects for individuals with this disease are generally favorable, with a significant number of children outgrowing the seizures by adolescence. However, the course of the condition can vary, with some experiencing persistent seizures into adulthood. Cognitive and behavioral issues may accompany the epilepsy, potentially affecting academic performance and social interactions. Regular monitoring and follow-up are essential to manage and adapt to the condition over time. While many experience a reduction in seizure frequency and an improvement in symptoms with maturity, a subset may require ongoing management into their adult years. Overall, the prognosis is cautiously optimistic, with a considerable chance for a decrease in seizure activity and an increase in quality of life as individuals transition into adulthood.

Complications in Childhood Absence Epilepsy

Childhood Absence Epilepsy may lead to various complications that impact daily life. Frequent seizures could cause interruptions in learning and social development, as children often “blank out” and miss out on information or experiences. This may result in academic challenges and difficulties in maintaining friendships. Additionally, there is a risk of physical injury during activities if a seizure occurs unexpectedly. The unpredictability of seizures may also lead to anxiety or embarrassment, affecting the emotional well-being and self-esteem of the child. In some instances, individuals with this condition might experience other types of seizures as they grow older, which could further complicate their health. Awareness of these potential complications is important to provide the necessary support for individuals affected by Childhood Absence Epilepsy.

Managing Childhood Absence Epilepsy

In managing Childhood Absence Epilepsy, several non-clinical trial approaches are recommended:

  • Dietary adjustments, such as the ketogenic diet or modified Atkins diet, may help control seizures. These high-fat, low-carbohydrate diets are designed to alter the way the body uses energy, potentially reducing seizure frequency.
  • Regular physical activity is encouraged, as it can improve overall health and stress management, which may in turn help to decrease seizure occurrences. However, activities should be chosen carefully to ensure safety.
  • Pharmacotherapy options that are commonly prescribed include anti-seizure medications like Ethosuximide, Valproic acid, or Lamotrigine. These medications aim to reduce the number of seizures and are tailored to the individual’s needs by healthcare professionals.
  • Modern technology, such as seizure tracking apps and wearable devices, can assist in monitoring seizure patterns and triggers. These tools help patients and caregivers manage the condition more effectively by providing valuable data for healthcare providers.

Consultation with a healthcare provider is important to determine the most appropriate treatment strategy.

  • CT-EU-00067855

    Evaluating epilepsy treatment with brivaracetam

    This study aims to see how effective and safe a drug called Brivaracetam is for children and young adults aged between 2 and 25 who have a type of epilepsy known as Absence Epilepsy. Brain activity will be recorded for 24 hours using a device on day 14. If the patient has not had an episode of epilepsy in the 4 days before the recording or during it, they are considered ‘free’ of seizures. If the patients experience a seizure, it will be recorded on the machine and these patients have to leave the study. These patients also should not be taking a type of drug known as benzodiazepine during the study. All people taking part will have to keep a diary of their seizures from the start of the study until the end.

    • Brivaracetam