A collaborative survey was performed to compare prescribing strategies for the treatment of epilepsy in Mediterranean countries, based on analysis of 500 questionnaires compiled by physicians in 14 different countries. For partial seizures, carbamazepine was the drug of choice in most countries, whereas the second choice of drug differed widely. For primarily generalized tonic-clonic seizures, valproic acid was usually preferred, but other drugs used widely in some countries included phenobarbital, phenytoin and carbamazepine. Lamotrigine was the most popular second-line drug for primarily generalized tonic-clonic seizures in the European countries. In patients where the initial drug failed, switching to an alternative monotherapy was usually the preferred strategy, but advocates of early use of combination therapy exceeded 30% in the respondents of seven countries. Most respondents, in all countries except Turkey, did not prescribe drugs to prevent recurrence of febrile seizures; however, intermittent prophylaxis with a benzodiazepine was advocated by a considerable number of physicians, and continuous prophylaxis was prescribed by a significant minority of respondents in France, Syria and Tunisia. New drugs were rarely used as first-line treatment due to high cost and inadequate experience. Overall, this survey indicates that there is a wide variability in therapeutic practices between and within countries. This information may be useful for the implementation of national educational activities and for the design of pragmatic trials aimed at comparing different therapeutic strategies.
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