SIGNIFICANCE: Use of brivaracetam in genetic generalized epilepsies is well tolerated, and 50% responder rates are similar to those observed in the regulatory trials for focal epilepsies. An immediate switch from levetiracetam to brivaracetam at a ratio of 15:1 is feasible. The occurrence of psychobehavioral adverse events seems less prominent than under levetiracetam, and a switch to brivaracetam can be considered in patients with levetiracetam-induced adverse events.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to evaluate effectiveness, retention, and tolerability of brivaracetam (BRV) in genetic generalized epilepsies (GGE) in clinical practice.
METHODS: A multicenter, retrospective cohort study recruiting all patients that started BRV in 2016 and 2017.
RESULTS: A total of 61 patients (mean age = 29.8, range = 9-90 years, 41 female [67%]) were treated with BRV. They were difficult to control, with 2.4 failed antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in the past, taking 1.9 AEDs on average at baseline.
The length of exposure to BRV ranged from 7 days to 24 months, with a mean retention time of 7.9 months, resulting in a total exposure time to BRV of 483 months. The retention rate was 82% at 3 months and 69% at 6 months. Efficacy at 3 months was 36% (50% responder rate), with 25% seizure-free for 3 months. Patients with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy showed a responder rate of 60%, with 40% being free of any seizures. Long-term 50% responder rate was present in 17 patients (28%; 11 seizure-free [18%]) for >6 months and in 14 patients (23%; 10 seizure-free [16%]) for >12 months.
Treatment-emergent adverse events were observed in 26% of the patients, with the most common being somnolence, ataxia, and psychobehavioral adverse events. Use of intravenous BRV with bolus injection of 200-300 mg in two females with absence status epilepticus was well tolerated, but did not result in cessation of status epilepticus.