People with epilepsy are at increased risk for neuropsychological dysfunction due to multiple factors, of which the most amendable are antiseizure medications (ASMs). Antiseizure medication effectiveness is frequently determined by tolerability.
In this study, researchers compared the neuropsychological effects of eslicarbazepine acetate (ESL) and carbamazepine immediate-release (CBZ) using a randomized, double-blind, crossover design in healthy volunteers with a 2-week titration and 4-week maintenance phase in each treatment arm (CBZ = 400?mg BID and ESL = 800 mg qAM).
Neuropsychological testing was performed at the initial visit, repeated at 1st baseline nondrug condition, end treatment #1, 2nd nondrug condition one month after treatment #1, end treatment #2, and 3rd nondrug condition one month after treatment #2. Neuropsychological testing was conducted 2 h after morning dose and included computer (i.e., dual task test, selective attention test, symbol digit, verbal memory, visuospatial memory, and 1- & 2-back continuous performance) and noncomputer tasks (i.e., Medical College of Georgia (MCG) paragraph memory, Stroop, Symbol Digit Modalities Test, Profile of Mood States). z-Scores calculated from nondrug conditions were used to compare ESL and CBZ for the 23 completers. Follow-up analyses included individual test scores and distribution of individual raw means. Mean blood levels on test day were CBZ = 8.9 ug/ml and ESL = 15.3 ug/ml. Omnibus z-score was significantly better for ESL (p = .0001).
For individual measures, executive function and selective attention tests were statistically significantly better for eslicarbazepine acetate. Individual test raw means favored eslicarbazepine acetate over carbamazepine immediate-release on 22 of 30 measures (p = .016, 2-tailed sign test). Eslicarbazepine acetate demonstrated less adverse neuropsychological effects than carbamazepine immediate-release.