Fatigue in Epilepsy

Researchers from the Grenoble University Hospital in Grenoble, France, reported results in the October 2010 issue of Epilepsy Research on the relationship between Epilepsy and Tiredness. The study entitled “Fatigue and Epilepsy: A Prospective Inter-ictal and Post-ictal Survey” evaluated 122 consecutive patients with epilepsy regardless of type and asked them to fill out questionnaires on their epilepsy and energy levels. Fatigue is commonly identified as a barrier to good quality of life for a number of chronic conditions. For example, in multiple sclerosis and cancer, fatigue is often investigated to assess how patients deal with various treatments and how the disease process impact energy.

Fatigue is often not a central point of epilepsy research which makes this study interesting. The investigators, Drs. Sophie Hamelin and colleagues, found that individuals with epilepsy had higher chronic fatigue scores and higher fatigue impact scores post-ictally (the time period after a seizure) than inter-ictally (time period when a seizure is not occurring). These results correlated with tests of depression the “Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)” and sleepiness “Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS)”. They concluded that chronic inter-ictal and post-ictal fatigue represents a further complication of epilepsy. This study reminds us why we should be addressing the issue of fatigue.

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