Many epilepsy patients found to be taking drug combinations that interact

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Scientists have found through review of 2008-2010 Medicare claims data there a sizable number of epilepsy patients are taking drug combinations that interact to the point that this interaction reduces the effectiveness of the non-epilepsy drugs.

In the Epilepsia analysis of the data researchers point out that one in four older Americans with new-onset epilepsy and more than one-third with prevalent epilepsy received a combination of antiepileptic drugs and non-epilepsy drugs that could interact to alter the effectiveness of the non-epilepsy drugs.

Also, more than 1 in 5 patients received a drug combination that could alter the effect of the antiepileptic drugs and potentially cause toxicity. Having interacting drug pair combinations was more likely for those with comorbid conditions and those eligible for a low-income subsidy.

“Avoidance of interacting antiepileptic drugs is feasible for most persons because of the availability of newer drugs,” the authors wrote.