Risk of a seizure recurrence after a breakthrough seizure and the implications for driving: further analysis of the standard versus new antiepileptic drugs (SANAD) randomised controlled trial.

Journal: BMJ Open

Objective: A breakthrough seizure is one occurring after at least 12 months seizure freedom while on treatment. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) allows an individual to return to driving once they have been seizure free for 12 months following a breakthrough seizure. This is based on the assumption that the risk of a further seizure in the next 12 months has dropped <20%. This analysis considers whether the prescribed 1 year off driving following a breakthrough seizure is sufficient for this and stratifies risk according to clinical characteristics. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, INTERVENTIONS AND MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The multicentre UK-based Standard versus New Antiepileptic Drugs (SANAD) study was a randomised controlled trial assessing standard and new antiepileptic drugs for patients with newly diagnosed epilepsy. For participants aged at least 16 with a breakthrough seizure, data have been analysed to estimate the annual seizure recurrence risk following a period of 6, 9 and 12 months seizure freedom. Regression modelling was used to investigate how antiepileptic drug treatment and a number of clinical factors influence the risk of seizure recurrence. Results: At 12 months following a breakthrough seizure, the overall unadjusted risk of a recurrence over the next 12 months is lower than 20%, risk 17% (95% CI 15% to 19%). However, some patient subgroups have been identified which have an annual recurrence risk significantly greater than 20% after an initial 12-month seizure-free period following a breakthrough seizure. Conclusions: This reanalysis of SANAD provides estimates of seizure recurrence risks following a breakthrough seizure that will inform policy and guidance about regaining an ordinary driving licence. Further guidance is needed as to how such data should be used.

Background: SANAD is registered with the International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number Register ISRCTN38354748.