Skip to
  1. Homepage
  2. Rare diseases
  3. Search
Simple search

Simple search

(*) mandatory field


Other search option(s)

Reflex epilepsy

Synonym(s) -
Prevalence Unknown
Inheritance -
Age of onset Childhood
  • G40.8
  • C0270857
  • D020195
MedDRA -


Reflex epilepsies (RE) are rare epileptic syndromes with seizures induced by specific triggering factors (either by visual, auditory, somato-sensitive or somato-motor stimulation, or by higher cortical function activities). Their prevalence varies from 1/3 000 to 1/700 for the most frequent forms (photosensitive epilepsies). Spontaneous seizures may also occur. 'Reflex seizures'' can be classified into a simple 'pure'' reflex epilepsy and a complex group. The former comprises seizure triggered by simple sensory stimuli or by movements (photosensitive epilepsies). The latter are triggered by complex mental and emotional processes (verbal and non-verbal epilepsies). RE may also be classified into epilepsies that are primary or idiopathic (a genetic basis is likely) and epilepsies that are secondary or symptomatic (with an acquired basis). Reflex epilepsies are generally considered as idiopathic. Primary RE frequently have a family history, an age of onset in early life, a benign prognosis and good response to medication (sodium valproate, lamictal), and an electroencephalogram (EEG) with a variable presentation but an almost invariable normality of background activity. Electroencephalographic seizures expression may be partial or generalized. Secondary RE occur later, frequently in patients with an associated neurologic and non epileptic impairment. There is sometimes less stereotypy in clinical expression, a poorer response to drugs for focal seizures triggered by specific stimuli (carbamazepine, phenytoin), and frequently an abnormal interictal EEG background.

Expert reviewer(s)

  • Emmanuel HIRSCH
  • Dr Gabrielle RUDOLF
  • Dr Maria-Paola VALENTI

(*) Required fields.

Attention: Only comments seeking to improve the quality and accuracy of information on the Orphanet website are accepted. For all other comments, please send your remarks via contact us. Only comments written in English can be processed.

Captcha image
The documents contained in this web site are presented for information purposes only. The material is in no way intended to replace professional medical care by a qualified specialist and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or treatment.