Epilepsy in Southeast Asia, how much have we closed the management gap in past two decades?

Lim, Kheng-Seang and Chia, Zhi-Jien and Myint, Moe-Zaw and Ara, Kazi Jannat and Chee, Yong-Chuan and Heng, Woon-Theng and Singh, Thanmidraaj-Kaur Balraj and Ong, Janice-Ying-Qian and SreeKumar, Slocahnah and Lee, Minh-An Thuy and Fong, Si-Lei and Tan, Chong-Tin (2020) Epilepsy in Southeast Asia, how much have we closed the management gap in past two decades? Neurology Asia, 25 (4). pp. 425-438. ISSN 1823-6138,

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The last review on epilepsy in Southeast Asian (SEA) countries was reported in 1997. This review aimed to update the understanding of epilepsy management in this region over the past 23 years. There has been significant increase in the epidemiological studies which reported a prevalence of 4.3-7.7 per 1,000 populations in this region. Reversible aetiologies of epilepsy such as head injury, birth trauma, cerebrovascular disease, and intracranial infections (neurocysticercosis or meningoencephalitis) are still prevalent, with a surge in autoimmune encephalitis. There was a surge in genetic studies which suggest ethnic variation. Treatment gap is still high especially in the rural and less developed areas, and the availability and affordability of newer anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) is still a major challenge in SEA. Alternative medicine is a common practice but varies among different ethnic groups. AEDs hypersensitivity especially on the association between HLA-B*1502 and carbamazepine-related severe cutaneous reaction had been extensively studied and proven in nearly all SEA countries. However, HLA-B*1502 screening is not widely available in SEA and the cost-effectiveness of the screening is questionable. Stigma and its psychosocial consequences are still a major concern despite enormous efforts to study the public attitudes towards epilepsy and change of epilepsy naming in a few countries. The number and complexity of epilepsy surgery are progressing, but it is still under-utilized in many SEA countries, related to cost, cultural perception and lack of facilities. More resources should also be channelled in training adequate number of epileptologists who can spearhead epilepsy care around the region, as well as public education and research in epilepsy. In conclusion, there is an increase in epilepsy research in this region, gradual increase in trained neurologists and facilities, and efforts to reduce the knowledge and treatment gap, but the epilepsy management gap is still a battle to fight.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Epilepsy; Southeast Asia
Subjects: R Medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine
Faculty of Medicine > Medicine Department
Depositing User: Ms Zaharah Ramly
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2023 08:00
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2023 08:00
URI: http://eprints.um.edu.my/id/eprint/36226

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