We performed a community-based study among children and adolescents with idiopathic and cryptogenic epilepsy and onset of the seizures between 0 and 19 years of age on the prognosis of being seizure-free. The study population was recruited during a descriptive investigation in the Local Health Service of Copparo (USL 34), Ferrara, Northern Italy. We included 111 patients (61 males and 50 females). The average length of follow-up was 18.8 years (ranging from 7 to 24 years). The cumulative probability of being in remission was 81.2% at 15 years after onset and the estimated percentage of patients in remission without therapy was 56% for the same time period. At 15 years after the onset of epilepsy, approximately 20% of patients continued to have seizures; nearly 25% continued to take antiepileptic drugs but had been free of seizures for at least 5 years; nearly 56% had been without seizures and free of medication for at least 5 years. Seizure type, gender, age at onset of the illness, epileptic abnormalities on EEG, family history of convulsive disorders, number and frequency of seizures prior to the start of treatment were found not to be helpful as prognostic factors. This community study, carried out on patients without the well known factors that adversely affect prognosis, confirms that the prospect of seizure control and for withdrawal of therapy is (generally) goo
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