WEDNESDAY, Jan. 11, 2023 (HealthDay News) — For people with epilepsy, those who see a neurologist are more likely to be on newer-generation antiseizure medications (ASMs), while Black, Hispanic, and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Island individuals are less likely to be on newer ASMs, according to a study published online Jan. 11 in Neurology Clinical Practice.

Wyatt P. Bensken, Ph.D., from the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and colleagues used Medicaid claims data to identify the type and number of ASMs for people with epilepsy during 2010 to 2014. The association between newer-generation ASMs and adherence was examined, and racial/ethnic differences in ASM use were assessed. Data were included for 78,534 adults with epilepsy, of whom 17,729 were Black and 9,376 were Hispanic.

The researchers found that 25.6 percent of the participants were on older ASMs, and better adherence was seen in association with being solely on second-generation ASMs (adjusted odds ratio, 1.17). The odds of being on newer ASMs were increased for those who saw a neurologist or who were newly diagnosed (odds ratios, 3.26 and 1.29, respectively). Compared with White individuals, Black, Hispanic, and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Island individuals had lower odds of being on newer ASMs (adjusted odds ratios, 0.71, 0.93, and 0.77, respectively).

“Studies have shown that use of newer medications improves outcomes, and some newer medications have fewer side effects,” Bensken said in a statement. “These results show that a sizeable proportion of people may not be on an optimal treatment regimen, and the differences appear to reflect clear racial and ethnic inequities in care.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical, publishing, and medical technology industries.

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