Navigating Epilepsy: The Road Ahead

Article published in 2015 in Epilepsy and Behavior Journal indicates troubling conditions for Hispanic immigrants to the US diagnosed with epilepsy

latino americaIt is estimated that the Hispanic population in the US is approximately at 52 million which translates to about 16.7% of the total US population.

This is the first study that examined Hispanic patients diagnosed with epilepsy compared to their English-speaking, US born peers.  Thirty-eight Spanish-speaking immigrants with epilepsy were compared to 47 US-born, English-speaking epilepsy patients.

The study found that Spanish-speaking patients were markedly more depressed and worried about the possibility of having a seizure than the comparison group.   Marital status, insurance type, being prescribed anti-depressive medications, seizure frequency and number of anti-epileptic medications did not impact these results.

Other findings showed that less Spanish-speaking immigrant patients were receiving anti-depressive medications (13.15% Hispanics compared to 40.42% US-born) and fewer of these Hispanic patients had access to comprehensive medical insurance. Perhaps the most troubling finding is that Hispanic patients were receiving less (at a statistically significant level) anti-epileptic medications (AEDs) than US-born patients.

This study has important significances including that Hispanic immigrants with epilepsy are presecribed less anti-epileptic medications than their US peers which can have very grave consequences.   This is possibly due to less comprehensive insurance coverage.  Not surprisingly, these patients were more depressed and had more concerns about suffering a seizure.

We hope this study will bring these critical conditions to the attention of the medical community and government health administrators.

The full article can be found on this link. There is no charge to read the article:    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26277451

 

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