The group with epilepsy included in this study had a lower proportion of individuals with overweight and obesity than the general population (23.1% versus 42%) in 2015. However, the proportion of patients with obesity in the groups with DRE was significantly higher than that in the general population (17.9% versus 7.1%).
•The J-shaped relationship between BMI and DRE is monotonic with increased BMI in multivariable analyses.
•Obesity, but not overweight, was associated with DRE. The risk of DRE was higher among patients with epilepsy with obesity than among adults without obesity.
: Obesity and overweight have been well established as comorbidities of epilepsy in adults. However, the effects of overweight and obesity on the risk of adult drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE) has not been fully assessed. Thus, the objective of this study was to investigate the relationships between categories of body mass index (BMI) and DRE.
: This was a case-control study. Patients with epilepsy hospitalized for Video electroencephalogram were included in the study from 2015 to 2020. Low/normal weight, overweight, and obesity were defined as BMI<23 and 23-24.9 and ≥25 kg/m2, respectively. The proportions of patients diagnosed with DRE in each category were calculated.
: A total of 1272 patients with drug-responsive epilepsy and 345 patients with DRE were included in this study. More men than women had DRE (P=0.012). Higher proportions of patients with DRE had a history of status epilepticus (P<0.001), CNS infection (P=0.027), developmental delay (P=0.001), and comorbidity (P<0.001). Obesity (BMI≥25 kg/m2) was associated with an increased risk of DRE (adjusted OR, 2.339; 95% CI, 1.724-3.171). No significant increase in the risk of DRE was found to be associated with overweight. Further stratified analyses by valproic acid (VPA) treatment attenuated the obesity-DRE relationship, but the associations remained statistically significant (adjusted OR, 1.79; 95% CI, 1.15-2.80).
: Obesity, but not overweight, potentially plays a role in DRE, although confounders, such as antiseizure medications (ASMs) use, need to be explored. In the future, well-designed trials are needed to elucidate this issue.