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February 12, 2018
Study shows levetiracetam outweighs common therapies for nonsyndromic pediatric epilepsy
Research, Treatments, Pediatric Epilepsies

A comparison of 2 drugs commonly prescribed for infants with nonsyndromic epilepsy (NSE) found that oral anticonvulsant therapy levetiracetam significantly reduces treatment regiment and seizure rates when compared to phenobarbital.

A multicenter cohort study of 155 infants with NSE provided the first evidence that one common initial pediatric therapy for non-conforming epilepsy is significantly more beneficial than the other.

Anne T. Berg, PhD, from Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, told MD Magazine that although levetiracetam is already far and away the preferred initial therapy for children suffering from NSE, this is substantial analysis showing that it is superior to the next-prescribed therapy in managing short-term seizures.

The study compared the 2 therapies as initial monotherapies in 155 children with NSE with seizure onset at 1 month to 1 year of age. Researchers administered levetiracetam to 117 patients, and phenobarbital to 38 patients for 6 months.

About 40% of infants receiving levetiracetam did not require an additional anti-epileptic therapy to help control seizures, and became seizure-free within 3 months of initial of initial therapy. Just 16% of the patients treated with phenobarbital reached the same outcome.

The true value of the study may come from its network building. The involved 17 medical centers, all from the US  Pediatric Epilepsy Research Consortium, have been conglomerated since 2012, and is looking to emulate the extensive research found in other cooperative groups such as the Children’s Oncology Group, Berg said.

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