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Of patients who develop epilepsy 70-80% will become seizure free, the remaining 20% are the most difficult to treat satisfactorily. Eighty per cent of patients are best treated with a single drug. Stepwise treatment plans for the treatment of newly diagnosed patients and for the evaluation of patients with chronic epilepsy are suggested. There is a lack of consensus regarding the rate at which to taper antiepileptic drugs being discontinued in patients with active epilepsy. There are arguments for making drug changes rapidly; these arguments and strategies for managing the withdrawal of individual drugs are presented.