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Study finds high levels of misdiagnosis in juvenile myoclonic epilepsy

A study in Bakırköy Psychiatric Hospital*, Turkey has found that despite the well-defined diagnostic criteria, misdiagnosis in juvenile myoclonic epilepsy may be a problem.


Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) is one of the most common and recognisable idiopathic generalised epilepsies with its characteristic clinical and EEG features such as myoclonic jerks.

The study compared current misdiagnosis rates in JME to those from 1998.

Of 200 JME patients, 49 were misdiagnosed at their first medical evaluation.  The physician was a neurologist in 87.8 per cent of the cases of misdiagnosis.   Nearly half of the misdiagnosed patients were prescribed an inappropriate antiepileptic drug, and the other half were prescribed none.

The study found that, compared with results from 1998, the rate of misdiagnosis was lower and the time it took to correct the diagnosis was shorter.  However, proper diagnosis at first sight was still found to be a problem among neurologists, even when typical EEG changes were present.

* Bakırköy Mazhar Osman Mental Health and Neurological Diseases Education and Research Hospital