Webinar: Epilepsy with Eyelid Myoclonia (EEM), Formerly Known as Jeavons Syndrome: Diagnosis and Treatment of this Rare Photosensitive Epilepsy
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm CST
Epilepsy with eyelid myoclonia (EEM), formerly known as Jeavons syndrome, is a type of rare absence epilepsy characterized by a brief but intense and repeated jerking of the eyelids. Seizures can be triggered by bright and/or flickering lights and can be associated with abnormal EEG patterns.
EEM most often starts in children aged between 6 and 8 years and is more prevalent in girls than boys.
In this webinar, attendees learn how to recognize the clinical features of EEM, as well as how to differentiate it from other epilepsy syndromes. The webinar also reviews the consensus first-line treatments for EEM.
About the Speaker:
Kelsey M. Smith, MD is an Assistant Professor of Neurology and epileptologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Her clinical and research interests include genetic generalized epilepsy syndromes including EEM, autoimmune-associated seizure disorders, and women with epilepsy. She is the first author of multiple publications that address the diagnosis and treatment of EEM.
Q&A with Dr. Kelsey M. Smith
We’ve talked about the difficulty of controlling seizures in this epilepsy syndrome. Since it is hard to treat, what level of control should be expected and how do we know when to consider a new or an additional treatment or medication?
I think that that’s a great question and it’s a question that I think should be very individualized and depends on the patient itself. So it depends on what a patient’s goals are. If the patient really wants to be driving, then we need to try to escalate therapy to the point where the patient isn’t losing awareness where that could be safe and also a risk-benefit ratio of trying a new anti-seizure medication. And so, I try and just have a discussion with my patient to see and for us to agree on that difficult question.
Does the VNS or DBS work for this syndrome?
So there’s limited data out there. In our series, we did have some patients who had VNS implanted from our 30 patients we published in 2018. I have personally seen some patients who’ve had some nice response to vagus nerve stimulation, but I would just say we don’t have enough knowledge. Deep brain stimulation as well, there’s even less knowledge on. There’s actually one case report of responsive neurostimulation to the thalamus, which is similar to deep brain stimulation. Deep brain stimulation is advancing in areas of generalized epilepsy, but there’s just not as much experience in generalized epilepsy. So that also includes epilepsy with eyelid myoclonia. It’s definitely an area of research and we should know more in the coming years.
It’s perplexing about lamotrigine. In your talk, you talk about lamotrigine works and can be prescribed, but sodium channels as a rule are not prescribed. So can you explain that dichotomy since?
I’ll try. And this is not just for epilepsy with eyelid myoclonia where there’s this dichotomy. So we know that lamotrigine works for some generalized epilepsy syndromes. We use it in multiple generalized epilepsy syndromes. It can make myoclonic seizures worse. There’s some good data for that. And there’s some debate about the eyelid myoclonia being just myoclonus of the eyes. But also, we know works usually well for the generalized tonic-clonic seizures and these generalized epilepsy syndromes. And that’s probably due to other properties than just the sodium channel blocking properties. And so, I think it’s a bit of a balance. If a patient has a lot of extremity myoclonus, that’s something to consider when starting the lamotrigine. But still typically, it’s one of our go-to medicines for generalized epilepsies despite its sodium channel, part of its action being at the sodium channel.
Have combinations of medications been trialed for effectiveness against DEM? This person has seen some better control during medication transitions when there may be multiple meds on board. Is there any evidence for that? ?
There’s no great evidence for that to, most of the studies looking at epilepsy with eyelid myoclonia are retrospective studies. And it can be hard when you look at some of that data for the confounding factors of multiple medications. It wouldn’t surprise me if there is sometimes a combination that works better balancing the eyelid myoclonia and things like that. But we just don’t have enough data to say, I would say. There’s a couple of retrospective series that puts some of the combinations together, but that data is limited and half interpreted.
So, there are some new medications available now. Is there any knowledge about how well Xcopri might work?
There was a series published actually out of Mayo by one of our fellows, Shruti Agashe, looking at Xcopri or cenobamate in generalized epilepsies. And I believe there was one patient with epilepsy with eyelid myoclonia in that. So obviously very limited data. There are studies that are hoping, my understanding is to study cenobamate or Xcopri in generalized epilepsies, and we don’t have the results from those in general. So I just don’t think we have enough knowledge at this time.
The information contained herein is provided for general information only and does not offer medical advice or recommendations. Individuals should not rely on this information as a substitute for consultations with qualified healthcare professionals who are familiar with individual medical conditions and needs. CURE Epilepsy strongly recommends that care and treatment decisions related to epilepsy and any other medical condition be made in consultation with a patient’s physician or other qualified healthcare professionals who are familiar with the individual’s specific health situation.