Benign rolandic epilepsy

Guerrini R, Pellacani S. Benign childhood focal epilepsies. Epilepsia. 2012
Sep;53 Suppl 4:9-18.

“The idiopathic focal epilepsies comprise a group of syndromes characterized by focal-onset seizures for which there is no detectable structural brain abnormality and for which there is a proposed functional mechanism for the epilepsy and electroencephalography (EEG) abnormalities. This group includes benign rolandic epilepsy (BRE), benign epilepsy with occipital paroxysms (both early onset and late-onset types), idiopathic photosensitive occipital lobe epilepsy, and some less well-defined syndromes. The limits of the early onset idiopathic occipital epilepsy syndrome are not clear, and perhaps this entity represents part of a larger syndrome group of “autonomic” age-related epilepsies. The term “idiopathic” implies absence of a structural brain lesion and a genetic propensity to seizures. The term “benign” implies that the epileptic seizures are easily treated or require no treatment, show remission without sequelae with ultimate and definitive remission before adulthood, do not have severe or exceedingly disturbing seizures, and have no associated serious intellectual or behavioral disturbances. It may be that a syndrome is benign only when it can be recognized early with reasonable certainty, thereby avoiding unnecessary investigations, overtreatment, and lifestyle restrictions. Although BRE has such characteristic clinical and EEG features to make early recognition possible, this is less constantly so in the other focal idiopathic epilepsy syndromes, where the term “benign” may be inappropriate. Mild and selective neuropsychological impairment may occur even in those with typical syndromes but it is unclear whether such selective deficits outlast the active phase of epilepsy. Sometimes the clinical course may be complicated by obvious cognitive and language impairments. In such cases, the term benign is obviously inappropriate, even when seizures are rare. In most patients with the typical focal idiopathic epilepsy syndromes, medication is not necessary.”

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Oguni H. Treatment of benign focal epilepsies in children: when and how should
be treated? Brain Dev. 2011 Mar;33(3):207-12.

“Benign focal epilepsies represent almost one-fourth of all childhood epilepsies and are a frequent occurrence in clinical practice. They include benign infantile seizures (BIS), Panayiotopoulos syndrome (PS), and benign childhood epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes (BCECTS) in this order of the onset age. Because the prognosis is always excellent in patients with benign focal epilepsies, we must consider the risks and benefits of chronic antiepileptic drug (AED) administration. AED treatment is usually not recommended for the patients with a first attack, but should be considered for those with a second or third attack. A choice of AED has been based on the expert opinion. Carbamazepine (CBZ) is recommended for both acute and chronic treatment of seizure clusters in patients with BIS. Valproic acid (VPA), CBZ or clobazam (CLB) appears to be a first option of AED for patients with PS. A common first choice for BCECTS is CBZ in the USA and Japan, and VPA in the EU. The treatment period should be as short as possible without waiting for EEG normalization, possibly within 2 years after the initiation of AED. We must remember that some patients with BCECTS may have an “atypical evolution”. In conclusion, when and how to treat this benign condition should be determined in an individual manner based on the length and frequency of seizures, circadian rhythm of the attacks, interictal EEG findings, cognitive and behavioral functions in daily life and the attitude of the parents toward seizure recurrences and AED side effects.”

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Chan SC, Lee WT. Benign epilepsy in children. J Formos Med Assoc. 2011

“BCECTS (also called rolandic epilepsy), is the most common focal seizure in childhood, and there is a male predominance. The onset age ranges from 1 to 14 years, with a peak at 7–10 years. Most patients have unilateral facial sensory–motor and oropharyngolaryngeal symptoms, hypersalivation, and speech arrest. Loss of consciousness might occur, and some patients might experience GTCSs. About 75% of patients have seizures only during sleep, and 10–13% have only one seizure. Almost
all seizures can remit by the age of 15–16 years. [29–31] However, nearly 20% of patients can have intractable seizures and have several seizures every day, or even clusters of seizures.”

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Hughes JR. Benign epilepsy of childhood with centrotemporal spikes (BECTS): to
treat or not to treat, that is the question. Epilepsy Behav. 2010

“The goal of this review is to assess the value of treating versus not treating benign epilepsy (of childhood) with centrotemporal spikes (BECTS). Among 110 recommendations from 96 articles, two-thirds generally favored and one-third generally did not favor treatment with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Two studies concluded that all patients should be treated, but most investigators added qualifications, for example, treating those with early onset, multiple seizures at onset, and large numbers of seizures, especially generalized tonic-clonic seizures, and limiting treatment to 1 year. Other studies made treatment dependent on epileptiform discharges or amelioration of symptoms. Specific AEDs were reviewed, and in the largest number of positive studies, valproic acid or carbamazepine was favored. Among the studies generally opposing treatment, none opposed treatment for all patients in all circumstances. Usually, qualifications to treat were added, for example, if generalized tonic-clonic seizures occurred or if there was a change in quality of life. One AED associated with negative effects was carbamazepine, treatment with which can result in the development of epileptic negative myoclonus, absence seizures, and generalized spike-wave complexes on the EEG. Thus, if treatment is planned, valproic acid may be considered the drug of choice in BECTS. Although many neurologists oppose treatment; twice as many studies concluded in favor of treatment. The typical benign aspect of this disorder may allow for nontreatment to be without serious consequences.”

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More PubMed results on rolandic epilepsy.

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