Watch Dr Emma Foster accept the research grant award and hear a bit about the project.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes recurrent seizures. More than 150,000 Australians live with epilepsy, and it can start at any age. Epileptic seizures can cause serious injuries (e.g., broken bones), accidents (e.g., falls, drowning), affect people’s quality of life, and can even lead to death. The primary aim of epilepsy treatment is to control seizures. Two out of every three people living with epilepsy can become seizure free on antiseizure medications. However, antiseizure medications will not work if they are not taken. Distressingly, recent studies report that half of all Australians living with epilepsy do not take their antiseizure medications as prescribed. Similar findings have been reported internationally. With the generous support of Brain Foundation, our research team will conduct interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders (people living with epilepsy and healthcare providers). We aim to understand why people may or may not take antiseizure medications when they are first recommended, or why they may choose to discontinue antiseizure medications months or years after starting them. We will also find out what information about antiseizure medications is important to people living with epilepsy. We will workshop this information into the existing resources provided by national patient advocacy groups Epilepsy Action Australia and the Epilepsy Foundation. This study’s targeted approach centres around people’s lived experience, aiming to improve antiseizure medication adherence, and reduce otherwise avoidable seizures, seizure-related injuries, accidents, and death. We sincerely thank the Brain Foundation for their support, and are honoured to have received this prestigious award.