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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children with epilepsy

Abstract

Background

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.

Aims

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).

Results

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.

Conclusion

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.

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Correspondence to Suiqiang Zhu.

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Wang, M., Zhao, Q., Kang, H. et al. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children with epilepsy. Ir J Med Sci 189, 305–313 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11845-019-02042-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11845-019-02042-3

Keywords

  • Antiepileptic drugs
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Children
  • Comorbid
  • Epilepsy