Typically, epilepsy patients have brain imaging at the time of diagnosis to investigate for a structural cause for seizures. Seizures in these patients are unlikely a result of new structural changes. Neuroimaging in can be considered in patients with longstanding epilepsy without prior imaging studies, or in patients who are candidates for neurosurgery with seizures refractory to medical management.
Cendes F, et al. Neuroimaging of epilepsy. Handbook of Clinical Neurology. 2016;136:985-1014. PMID: 27430454.
Commission on Neuroimaging of the International League Against Epilepsy. Recommendations for neuroimaging of patients with epilepsy. Epilepsia. 1997 Nov;38(11):1255-6. PMID: 9579930.
Epilepsy Implementation Task Force. Provincial Guidelines for the Management of Epilepsy in Adults and Children. Critical Care Services Ontario. January 2015. [Internet].
Harden CL, et al. Reassessment: Neuroimaging in the emergency patient presenting with seizure (an evidence-based review). Report of the Therapeutics and Technology Assessment Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology. Neurology. 2007 Oct 30;69(18):1772-80. PMID: 17967993.
Lapalme-Remis S, and Cascino GD. Imaging for Adults with Seizures and Epilepsy. Continuum (Minneap Minn). 2016 Oct;22(5, Neuroimaging):1451-1479. PMID: 27740984.
Valproic acid is teratogenic for a developing fetus and should be avoided. Valproic acid increases the risk of diminished IQ as well as major congenital malformations including neural tube defects and cardiovascular abnormalities for a developing fetus. If valproic acid treatment is deemed necessary, patients should be counselled regarding contraception and the risks of conception. In this case, the lowest effective dose should be used.
Bansal R, et al. Maternal and neonatal complications during pregnancy in women with epilepsy. International Journal of Epilepsy. 2016 July;3(2):80-85.
Campbell E, et al. Malformation risks of antiepileptic drug monotherapies in pregnancy: updated results from the UK and Ireland Epilepsy and Pregnancy Registers. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2014 Sep;85(9):1029-34. PMID: 24444855.
Hernández-Díaz S, et al for the North American AED Pregnancy Registry. Comparative safety of antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy. Neurology. 2012 May;78(21):1692-9. PMID: 22551726.
Voinescu PE and Pennell PB. Management of epilepsy during pregnancy. Expert Rev Neurother. 2015 Oct;15(10):1171-87. PMID: 26416395.
Opioids and cannabinoids have weak or inconclusive evidence in effective treatment of neuropathic pain. The well documented risks of opioid and cannabinoids include nausea, sleepiness, impairment, dependence, and development of substance use disorders. With impairment comes further risks to oneself and others in altered judgement in the workplace or while operating a vehicle. Opioids come with an additional risk of decreased respiratory drive and fatality with overdose. Neuropathic pain can be treated effectively using agents with demonstrated efficacy and significantly less risks compared to opioids and cannabinoids.
Moulin DE, et al. Pharmacological management of chronic neuropathic pain: Revised consensus statement from the Canadian Pain Society. Pain Res Manag. 2014 Nov-Dec;19(6):328-35. PMID: 25479151.
Finnerup NB, et al. Pharmacotherapy for neuropathic pain in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Neurol. 2015 Feb;14(2):162-73. PMID: 25575710.
Opioids are not adequate for pain control for patients with migraines. The risk for harm, including impairment, dependence, tolerance, medication overuse headaches, and opioid use disorder with opioids is greater than the documented benefit. Additionally, opioids may worsen nausea and vomiting associated with the migraine. Prescription opioids for migraines would have minimal to no benefit with the excess of risk, and contribute to the opioid crisis.
Tepper S & Spears RC. Acute treatment of migraine. Neurologic Clinics. 2009 May;27(2):417-27. PMID: 19289223.
Worthington I, et al. Canadian Headache Society Guideline: Acute Drug Therapy for Migraine Headache. Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences / Journal Canadien Des Sciences Neurologiques. Sept 2013;40(S3):S1-S3. PMID: 23968886.