Background: Intellectual disability (ID) is relatively common in people with epilepsy, with prevalence estimated to be around 25%. Surprisingly, given this relatively high frequency, along with higher rates of refractory epilepsy than in those without ID, little is known about outcomes of different management approaches/clinical services treating epilepsy in adults with ID-we investigate this area.
Materials & Methods: We undertook a naturalistic observational cohort study measuring outcomes in n = 91 adults with ID over a 7-month period (recruited within the period March 2008 to April 2010). Participants were receiving treatment for refractory epilepsy (primarily) in one of two clinical service settings: community ID teams (CIDTs) or hospital Neurology services.
Results: The pattern of comorbidities appeared important in predicting clinical service, with Neurologists managing the epilepsy of relatively more of those with neurological comorbidities whilst CIDTs managed the epilepsy of relatively more of those with psychiatric comorbidities. Epilepsy-related outcomes, as measured by the Glasgow Epilepsy Outcome Scale 35 (GEOS-35) and the Epilepsy and Learning Disabilities Quality of Life Scale (ELDQoL) did not differ significantly between Neurology services and CIDTs.
Discussion: In the context of this study, the absence of evidence for differences in epilepsy-related outcomes amongst adults with ID and refractory epilepsy between mainstream neurology and specialist ID clinical services is considered. Determining the selection of the service managing the epilepsy of adults with an ID on the basis of the skill sets also required to treat associated comorbidities may hence be a reasonable heuristic.