Benign rolandic epilepsy (BRE)

What causes benign rolandic epilepsy (BRE)?

BRE is thought to be a genetic disorder. Studies suggest that certain regions on chromosome 11 (11p13) and chromosome 15 (15q14) may be involved in BRE, but a specific gene has not been identified.

Last updated on 05-01-20

What is benign rolandic epilepsy?

Benign rolandic epilepsy (BRE) is the most common form of childhood epilepsy. It is referred to as "benign" because most children outgrow the condition by puberty. This form of epilepsy is characterized by seizures involving a part of the brain called the rolandic area. These seizures typically begin between the ages of 3 and 12 years and occur during the nighttime. Other features of BRE include headaches or migraines and behavioral and/or learning differences. BRE is thought to be a genetic disorder because most affected individuals have a family history of epilepsy. Treatment for BRE may depend on the symptoms and severity in each person. Because BRE resolves on its own before adulthood, many children with BRE who have infrequent seizures that only occur at night do not take anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs). However, there have been studies suggesting that BRE may cause lasting cognitive or behavioral problems in some people. Medication is more likely to be recommended in children with frequent or daytime seizures, cognitive impairment, or a learning disorder. Each family must consult with their physician(s) and make their own decision about whether to treat BRE.

Last updated on 05-01-20

How might benign rolandic epilepsy (BRE) be treated?

Treatment for BRE may depend on the symptoms and severity in each person. In general, BRE typically does not require intensive therapy. Because seizures may be infrequent and usually occur at night, and because of the potential side affects of anti-epileptic drugs, many children with BRE do not take medication. However, emerging data on neuropsychological problems in people with BRE suggests that the syndrome may not be entirely without long-term effects. A recently recognized concern in children with BRE is a higher incidence of neuropsychological deficits. Each family must consult with their physician(s) and make their own decision about whether they are more comfortable treating or not treating BRE. The need for medication is generally bigger if a child has frequent seizures, daytime seizures, cognitive problems, or a learning disorder.

When BRE is treated, medications may include AEDs such as carbamazepine, gabapentin, levetiracetam, or others. Most children with BRE respond to a low dose of a single drug, but some have seizures that are more drug-resistant, requiring higher doses or more than one drug.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Where To Start

Epilepsy Foundation - Benign rolandic epilepsy

The Epilepsy Foundation has an information page on benign rolandic epilepsy. Click on Epilepsy Foundation to view the information page.

Last updated on 04-27-20

Name: Epilepsy Foundation 8301 Professional Place East Suite 230
Landover, MD, 20785, United States
Phone: +1-301-459-3700 Toll Free: 800-332-1000 (24/7 Helpline) Fax : +1-301-577-2684 Email: Url: en Español 1-866-748-8008
Name: Epilepsy Action New Anstey House Gate Way Drive
United Kingdom
Phone: 0113 210 8800 (UK) or +44 (0)113 210 8800 (international) Fax : 0113 391 0300 (UK) or +44 (0)113 391 0300 (international) Email: Url:

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The RareGuru disease database is regularly updated using data generously provided by GARD, the United States Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center.

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