Epilepsy is one of the most prevalent neurologic conditions. It is estimated to affect 70 million people worldwide. Epilepsy is an important cause of disability and mortality. It is associated with social stigma and significant economic costs. Although epilepsy is a disease with a worldwide distribution, its prevalence varies between different countries. Very little is known about the epidemiology of epilepsy in Qatar. Qatar's population is a mixture of native citizens and immigrants. We aim at describing the features of epilepsy in Qatar as such information is virtually lacking from the current literature.


A database was created in 2014 to summarize information retrospectively collected on patients with epilepsy seen through the national health system (HMC) adult neurology clinic. For each subject, in addition to the typical demographic variables, we identified the age at onset, seizure types, epilepsy syndrome, etiology, treatment and outcome. Brain imaging and EEG results were also tabulated. All these variables were analyzed using the statistical package for social science (IBM-SPSS, version 20).


Of 504 patients included in the database, 467 with sufficient information were analyzed. Sixty percent were men. The mean age at the last clinic visit was 35. Native Qataris represented 38.5%, Asian subjects 33%, and Middle Eastern/North African (MENA) origin accounted for 25% of the studied population. Generalized tonic-clonic seizures were the most common seizure type, noted in 89% of subjects. Epilepsy was classified as focal in 65.5% of the cases, and generalized in 23%. EEGs were abnormal in 55.5 %, showing epileptiform discharges in 49% of subjects. Imaging studies revealed epileptogenic pathologies in 40% of reports. Common causes of epilepsy were: vascular (11%), hippocampal sclerosis (8%), infectious (6%) and trauma (6%). Sixty six percent of patients were receiving a single antiepileptic drug, and 53% were seizure free at the last follow-up. Overall, the most commonly prescribed drug was Leviteracetam (41%) followed by Valproic Acid (25%) and Carbamazepine (22%). On current therapy, 54% of patients were seizure-free, 41% had a partial response and five percent were refractory. When the patients were divided by geographical background, some differences were noted. Remote infections caused the epilepsy in 15% of Asian patients (with neurocysticercosis accounting for 10%), but only in 1% of Qatari and 3% of MENA subjects (with no reported neurocysticercosis) (p


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