Prevalence of Seizure/Epilepsy in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis: A Systematic Review and Meta‑Analysis

Omid Mirmosayyeb, Vahid Shaygannejad, Nasim Nehzat, Aida Mohammadi, Mahsa Ghajarzadeh


Background: Seizure and epilepsy are among the initial symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), yet different prevalence rates are reported for them in the previous studies. The goal of this systematic review is to estimate the pooled prevalence of seizure and epilepsy in patients with MS.

Methods: We searched PubMed, Scopus, EMBASE, Web of Science, google scholar, and gray literature including references from identified studies and conference abstracts published up to October 2019. The search strategy included the MeSH terms and text words as ((Epilepsies OR Seizure Disorder OR Seizure Disorders OR Awakening Epilepsy OR Epilepsy, Awakening OR Epilepsy, Cryptogenic OR Cryptogenic Epilepsies OR Cryptogenic Epilepsy OR Epilepsies, Cryptogenic OR epilepsy OR seizure) AND (Multiple Sclerosis OR Sclerosis, Multiple) OR Sclerosis, Disseminated) OR Disseminated Sclerosis) OR MS (Multiple Sclerosis)) OR Multiple Sclerosis, Acute Fulminating).

Results: The literature review resulted in 4860 articles; 2593 articles remained after eliminating the duplicates. For the final analysis, 39 articles were included, 9 of which were conference abstracts. The pooled prevalence of seizure in MS cases was 2%, 95% confidence interval (CI)(1%‑3%) (I2 = 91.8%, P < 0.001). The pooled prevalence of epilepsy in MS cases was 3%, 95% CI (2%‑4%) (I2 = 92.9%, P < 0.001). The pooled prevalence of epilepsy in Asia, Europe, and America was 6%, 3%, and 3%, respectively. The level of heterogeneity decreased after subgroup analysis in Asian and American subgroups. Meta‑regression analysis showed continent is not a source of heterogeneity (coefficient = ‑0.007, P = 0.6).

Conclusions: The result of this systematic review shows that the pooled prevalence of seizure and epilepsy among MS patients is 2% and 3%, respectively


Epilepsy; multiple sclerosis; prevalence; seizures

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