Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children with epilepsy

  • Man Wang
  • Qin Zhao
  • Huicong Kang
  • Suiqiang ZhuEmail author
Original Article



Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common comorbidity of childhood epilepsy. ADHD symptoms in children with epilepsy have been studied since 1970s in western countries. However, relative studies are still rather limited in China.


To study the incidence rate of ADHD in children with epilepsy, and further analyze the relationship of epilepsy and ADHD in China.

Materials and methods

206 children (age 6–16) with epilepsy and 58 healthy controls underwent assessment instruments (DSM-IV ADHD, ADHD Rating Scale-IV, and SNAP-IV Rating Scale).


The prevalence of comorbid ADHD was significantly higher in children with epilepsy (24.76%) than that in controls (5.17%), and inattentive subtype (ADHD-I, 14.1%) was the most prevalent. ADHD in childhood epilepsy was associated with younger age, early first onset age, and high frequency of epileptic seizures. There was no significant difference of ADHD incidence rate regarding the seizure type and abnormal electroencephalogram (EEG) discharges. The ADHD comorbidity rate in children treated with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) (27.6%) was higher than that without AEDs therapy (14.0%); multiple AEDs were associated with a higher rate of ADHD comorbidity as compared with single AEDs. The incidence of comorbid ADHD in epileptic children treated with traditional single AEDs was significantly higher than those treated with novel single AEDs.


Children with epilepsy have more attention problems as compared with healthy controls. ADHD in childhood epilepsy is associated with male sex, younger age, early first onset age, high frequency of epileptic seizures, and multiple AEDs.


Antiepileptic drugs Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder Children Comorbid Epilepsy 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Man Wang
    • 1
  • Qin Zhao
    • 1
  • Huicong Kang
    • 1
  • Suiqiang Zhu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Neurology, Tongji Hospital of Tongji Medical CollegeHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina

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