Muhammad Junaid Farrukh,1 Mohd Makmor-Bakry,1 Ernieda Hatah,1 Hui Jan Tan2

1Faculty of Pharmacy, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 2Faculty of Medicine, Pusat Perubatan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (PPUKM), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Purpose: To identify the use pattern of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and its impact on antiepileptic drug (AED) adherence among patients with epilepsy.
Method: Potential studies were identified through a systematic search of Scopus, Science Direct, Google Scholar, and PubMed. The keywords used to identify relevant articles were “adherence,” “AED,” “epilepsy,” “non-adherence,” and “complementary and alternative medicine.” An article was included in the review if the study met the following criteria: 1) conducted in epilepsy patients, 2) conducted in patients aged 18 years and above, 3) conducted in patients prescribed AEDs, and 4) patients’ adherence to AEDs.
Results: A total of 3,330 studies were identified and 30 were included in the final analysis. The review found that the AED non-adherence rate reported in the studies was between 25% and 66%. The percentage of CAM use was found to be between 7.5% and 73.3%. The most common reason for inadequate AED therapy and higher dependence on CAM was the patients’ belief that epilepsy had a spiritual or psychological cause, rather than primarily being a disease of the brain. Other factors for AED non-adherence were forgetfulness, specific beliefs about medications, depression, uncontrolled recent seizures, and frequent medication dosage.
Conclusion: The review found a high prevalence of CAM use and non-adherence to AEDs among epilepsy patients. However, a limited number of studies have investigated the association between CAM usage and AED adherence. Future studies may wish to explore the influence of CAM use on AED medication adherence.

Keywords:
medication adherence, AED, epilepsy, complementary and alternative medicine, non-compliance, CAM, seizure


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