Ettinger AB, Ottman R, Lipton RB, Cramer JA, Fanning KM, Reed ML. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms in adults with self-reported epilepsy: Results from a national epidemiologic survey of epilepsy. Epilepsia. 2015 Feb;56(2):218-24.
To assess symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and their impact among adults with epilepsy from a large community-based survey.
Adults who self-reported epilepsy were sent a postal survey including the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale version 6 (ASRS-6), Physicians Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), Generalized Anxiety Disorder Assessment 7 (GAD-7), and questions about seizure frequency and number of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) during the preceding 3 months. Individuals with ASRS-6 scores >14 were classified as ASRS+, and those with lower scores as ASRS-. Outcome measures included the Quality of Life in Epilepsy Inventory 10 (QOLIE-10), Quality of Life and Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire (Q-LES-Q), and the Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS). The relationship of ADHD symptoms to quality of life outcomes was modeled hierarchically, with linear regression controlling for sociodemographic covariates, comorbid depression and anxiety, seizure frequency, and number of AEDs.
Among 1,361 of respondents with active epilepsy, 18.4% (n = 251) were classified as ASRS+ and at risk for ADHD. Compared to ASRS- cases, ASRS+ individuals were more likely to have elevated depression and anxiety scores as well as greater seizure frequency and more AED use (p < 0.05 for all). Modeling results comparing ASRS+ and ASRS- cases, controlling for all covariates, indicated that ASRS+ cases had lower quality of life (Beta [β] = -3.07, 95% confidence interval [CI] -4.19 to -1.96) and worse physical (β = -0.048 95% CI -0.076 to -0.020) and social functioning (β = -0.058, 95% CI -0.081 to -0.035) on the Q-LES-Q, and increases in family (β = 1.57, 95% CI 1.09-2.05), social (β = 1.68, 95% CI 1.20-2.16), and work-related disability (β-1.86, 95% CI 1.27-2.46).
ADHD symptoms occur in nearly one of five adults with epilepsy, and are associated with increased psychosocial morbidity and lowered QOL. Future studies should clarify the nature and causes of ADHD symptoms in adults with epilepsy.