What makes epilepsy drug refractory?

Deborah E. Briggs, Jacqueline A. French

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


About 20-40% of patients with epilepsy will be refractory to medical treatment with antiepileptic drugs. It is unclear whether patients are already drug-resistant at the time of their initial presentation, or whether they become so over the course of their illness. Identifying predictors for drug-refractory epilepsy may be important for directing epilepsy patients to an effective nonpharmacological treatment, such as surgery or the vagus nerve stimulator, in a timely manner. In addition, understanding the factors that lead to the drug-refractory state may facilitate the development of new therapies that are effective in the resistant subgroup. This paper identifies various predictors that have been associated with drug-refractory epilepsy, discusses the evidence behind each factor and recommends strategies for clarifying predictors of refractoriness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-131
Number of pages5
JournalExpert review of neurotherapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003


  • Antiepileptic drug therapy
  • Genetic factors
  • Genetic polymorphism
  • Multiple drug resistance gene
  • Pharmacoresistance
  • Refractory epilepsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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