The lack of antiepileptic drugs and worsening of seizures among physically handicapped patients with epilepsy during the Great East Japan Earthquake

Satoru Kobayashi, Wakaba Endo, Takehiko Inui, Keisuke Wakusawa, Soichiro Tanaka, Akira Onuma, Kazuhiro Haginoya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Takuto Rehabilitation Center for Children is located in Sendai, the capital of the Miyagi prefecture, and faces the Pacific Ocean. The tsunami caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake resulted in tremendous damage to this region. Many physically handicapped patients with epilepsy who are treated at our hospital could not obtain medicine. We surveyed patients with epilepsy, using a questionnaire to identify the problems during the acute phase of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Methods: After the earthquake, we mailed questionnaires to physically handicapped patients with epilepsy who are treated and prescribed medications at our hospital, or to their parents. Results: A total of 161 respondents completed the questionnaire. Overall, 68.4% of patients had seven days or less of stockpiled medication when the earthquake initially struck, and 28.6% of patients had no medication or almost no medication during the acute phase after the earthquake. Six patients were forced to stop taking their medication and nine patients experienced a worsening of seizures. Most (93.6%) patients stated they require a stockpile of medication for more than seven days: 20 months after the earthquake, 76.9% patients a supply of drugs for more than seven days. Conclusions: We suggest that physically handicapped patients with epilepsy are recommended to prepare for natural disasters by stockpiling additional medication. Even if the stock of antiepileptic drugs is sufficient, stress could cause worsening of seizures. Specialized support is required after a disaster among physically handicapped patients with epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-627
Number of pages5
JournalBrain and Development
Volume38
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Aug 1

Keywords

  • Epilepsy
  • Physically handicapped patients
  • Severe motor and intellectual disabilities
  • The Great East Japan Earthquake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology

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