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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 24 (2011), Issue 1, Pages 83-93

The Effect of Alterations in Consciousness on Quality of Life (QoL) in Epilepsy: Searching for Evidence

Andreas Charidimou and Caroline Selai

UCL–Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London, UK

Received 23 March 2011; Accepted 23 March 2011

Copyright © 2011 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The impact of epilepsy on Quality of Life (QoL) is well-documented. The ability of epileptic seizures to alter the conscious states of patients is also well established. Although there is much research on the QoL of people with epilepsy, few researchers have looked specifically at the effect of sudden, unanticipated alterations of consciousness on QoL. This lack of systematic studies of consciousness alterations and QoL in epilepsy limits our ability to shed light on this interrelation. In this article, with these limitations in mind, we focus on studies of newer AEDs. We review the evidence as to whether a significant reduction (typically more than 50%) in seizures that induce alterations of consciousness, as a result of switching to one of the newer AEDs, leads to improvements in QoL. We draw on this literature to speculate on the relationship between ictal consciousness alterations and poor QoL in epilepsy, to identify contributory and confounding factors and to highlight implications for future research. We suggest that an understanding of how factors associated with consciousness impairment affect QoL could help the treatment and management of these patients.