We investigated epicardial adipose tissue thickness (EATT), carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT), and lipid profile in adult patients with epilepsy (PWE) taking anti-seizure medication(s) (ASM) and compared with those of the healthy population. We also investigated whether duration of follow-up and number of ASM(s) (mono- vs. polytherapy) affect these risk factors.
Twenty PWE older than 18 years of age were recruited at the outpatient epilepsy clinic and compared to twenty controls. Patients who were 18 years old and younger, those with cardiovascular risk factors, and patients with follow-up duration less than 2 years were excluded from the study.
Epicardial adipose tissue thickness and CIMT were thicker compared to controls. While patients’ low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels were higher than controls, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels were lower, the levels were in normal ranges. Those patients with duration of follow-up more than five years had thicker EATT. The 5-year LDL was in normal ranges while HDL was abnormally low. Number of ASM(s) was not associated with increased risks of atherosclerosis. Increased CIMT in patients taking ASM(s) was independent of their lipid profile.
Anti-seizure medications contribute to accelerated atherosclerosis in people with epilepsy. Chronic use of ASMs may increase this chance. It is appropriate to use ASM(s) with lower chances of atherosclerosis in people with epilepsy and encourage them to change their lifestyle in order to modify cardiovascular risk factors. Meantime, it is reasonable to assess the risk of atherosclerosis periodically in these patients by noninvasive methods including lipid profile, CIMT, and EATT.

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