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Open Access Debate

Understanding patients' perspective in the use of generic antiepileptic drugs: compelling lessons for physicians to improve physician/patient communication

Kore Liow

Author Affiliations

Via Christi Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, University of Kansas School of Medicine at Wichita, 848 N St Francis, 3950 Wichita, KS 67214, USA

BMC Neurology 2009, 9:11  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-9-11

Published: 17 March 2009



Epilepsy is a condition in which consistency of treatment is paramount to successful management and for most patients, effective seizure control can be achieved. Given the severe consequences of even a single breakthrough seizure, patients should be afforded every opportunity to succeed on their given regimens.


Some experts argue that global policy on generic antiepileptic drug substitution in epilepsy should be limited – occurring at the discretion of and with careful monitoring by the physician. While the debate continues, physicians still have daily responsibilities to their patients to help them best manage their epilepsy within the context of the current environment – the reality of which may involve switching to a generic antiepileptic drug or navigating various formulations between generics.


To provide context, this paper first reviews the main "hot button" issues fueling the ongoing generic debate, including a broad overview of the current state of the literature. The main goal however is to provide physicians with a patient perspective on generic antiepileptic drug use in epilepsy as a source of clinically useful, everyday advice to improve communication and increase patient self-advocacy, both of which are necessary for optimal patient outcome.