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04.05.2019 | Review Article | Ausgabe 9/2019

Neurological Sciences 9/2019

Hypertension, seizures, and epilepsy: a review on pathophysiology and management

Neurological Sciences > Ausgabe 9/2019
Sara Gasparini, Edoardo Ferlazzo, Chiara Sueri, Vittoria Cianci, Michele Ascoli, Salvatore M. Cavalli, Ettore Beghi, Vincenzo Belcastro, Amedeo Bianchi, Paolo Benna, Roberto Cantello, Domenico Consoli, Fabrizio A. De Falco, Giancarlo Di Gennaro, Antonio Gambardella, Gian Luigi Gigli, Alfonso Iudice, Angelo Labate, Roberto Michelucci, Maurizio Paciaroni, Pasquale Palumbo, Alberto Primavera, Ferdinando Sartucci, Pasquale Striano, Flavio Villani, Emilio Russo, Giovambattista De Sarro, Umberto Aguglia, On behalf of the Epilepsy Study Group of the Italian Neurological Society
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Epilepsy and hypertension are common chronic conditions, both showing high prevalence in older age groups. This review outlines current experimental and clinical evidence on both direct and indirect role of hypertension in epileptogenesis and discusses the principles of drug treatment in patients with hypertension and epilepsy.


We selected English-written articles on epilepsy, hypertension, stroke, and cerebrovascular disease until December, 2018.


Renin-angiotensin system might play a central role in the direct interaction between hypertension and epilepsy, but other mechanisms may be contemplated. Large-artery stroke, small vessel disease and posterior reversible leukoencephalopathy syndrome are hypertension-related brain lesions able to determine epilepsy by indirect mechanisms. The role of hypertension as an independent risk factor for post-stroke epilepsy has not been demonstrated. The role of hypertension-related small vessel disease in adult-onset epilepsy has been demonstrated. Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome is an acute condition, often caused by a hypertensive crisis, associated with the occurrence of acute symptomatic seizures. Chronic antiepileptic treatment should consider the risk of drug-drug interactions with antihypertensives.


Current evidence from preclinical and clinical studies supports the vision that hypertension may be a cause of seizures and epilepsy through direct or indirect mechanisms. In both post-stroke epilepsy and small vessel disease-associated epilepsy, chronic antiepileptic treatment is recommended. In posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome blood pressure must be rapidly lowered and prompt antiepileptic treatment should be initiated.

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