NICE issues new draft guidance on epilepsy
GPs should never initiate anti-epilepsy drug treatment without the recommendation of a specialist, according to new draft guidance from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.
The draft guidance which follows a damning national audit on epilepsy services by NICE last May says continuing responsibility for prescribing can be taken by GPs but a specialist should always be involved in the initial treatment decision.
The guidance urged GPs to review epilepsy patients at least annually, including an inquiry about side-effects and compliance with treatment plans.
But indiscriminate, regular monitoring of anti-epilepsy drug blood levels is not recommended and should only be considered in specific circumstances such as pregnancy.
Dr David Finnigan, a Newcastle GP and member of the group that wrote the guidance, said the advice complemented the epilepsy care targets in the new contract.
He added: 'Anything that pulls together the evidence base for different types of treatment, patient information and follow-up monitoring is helpful. There has been a lot of uncertainty out there.'