Prevalence and incidence of new-onset seizures and epilepsy in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV): Systematic review and meta-analysis


BACKGROUND: The prevalence and incidence of seizures are substantially higher in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) compared with the general population and is associated with higher mortality rates. Despite this, the condition remains poorly understood, and there is variation in reported epidemiological studies. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to investigate the risk factors associated with seizures in the population with HIV, explore the source of variations, and describe management plans that can aid clinicians in the acute and long-term treatment of these patients. METHODS: A structured electronic database search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library was conducted. Studies were included if they described clinical details of patients with HIV with seizures or epilepsy. We extracted select variables from each included study, and we estimated pooled estimates of the incidence and prevalence of seizures using random-effects meta-analysis of proportions. RESULTS: Information on 6639 cases of patients with HIV was extracted from 9 included studies. These comprised of 2 studies from the United States of America (USA), 3 from Europe, 3 from Asia, and 1 from Africa. The pooled prevalence and incidence rate of seizures in HIV were 62 per 1000 population and 60 per 1000 population respectively. Among those who presented with new-onset seizures, 63% had seizure recurrence. At the time of first seizure, 82.3% had acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Factors that appeared to be linked to seizures in HIV included advanced HIV disease, opportunistic infections particularly toxoplasmosis, and metabolic derangement. Most seizures were effectively controlled by common antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence and incidence of seizures and epilepsy in the population with HIV are substantially higher than the general population. Our results suggest that advanced HIV and opportunistic infections are associated with the majority of the seizures. Early initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), prophylactic use of cotrimoxazole (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole) and routine electroencephalogram (EEG) in patients with HIV may reduce seizure incidence and frequency and help in early diagnosis of nonconvulsive seizures in this population. We recommend long-term seizure management with AED, and for patients on HAART, enzyme-inducing AED should be avoided when possible


Ssentongo P




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Co-morbidities
    • Other


Abstract/Full paper

Email 1 selected articles

Email 1 selected articles

Error! The email wasn't sent. Please try again.

Your email has been sent!