Levetiracetam add-on for drug-resistant localization related (partial) epilepsy.Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2001; (1):CD001901CD
The majority of patients with epilepsy have a good prognosis and their seizures are well controlled by a single antiepileptic drug. However, up to 30% develop refractory seizures, particularly those with partial seizures. In this review, we summarise the current evidence regarding a new antiepileptic drug, levetiracetam, when used as an add-on treatment for drug-resistant localization related (partial) epilepsy.
To evaluate the effects of levetiracetam on seizures, side effects, quality of life and cognition, when used as an add-on treatment for patients with a drug-resistant localization related (partial) epilepsy.
We searched the Cochrane Epilepsy Group trials register, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register (Cochrane Library Issue 2, 2000). In addition, we contacted UCB SA (makers of levetiracetam) and experts in the field to seek any ongoing studies or unpublished studies.
Randomized placebo controlled add-on trials of levetiracetam in patients with a drug-resistant localization related (partial) epilepsy.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
Two reviewers independently selected trials for inclusion and extracted relevant data. The following outcomes were assessed: (a) 50% or greater reduction in total seizure frequency; (b) treatment withdrawal (any reason); (c) side effects; (d) cognitive effects; (e) quality of life. Primary analyses were intention to treat. Sensitivity best and worst case analyses were also undertaken. Summary odds ratios (ORs) were estimated for each outcome. Dose response was evaluated in regression models.
Four trials (1023 patients) were included. All four trials had data for treatment withdrawal and side effect outcomes. Three trials (904 patients) had data for 50% or greater reduction in seizure frequency. Three trials (595 patients) had data for quality of life and cognitive outcomes. The overall Odds Ratio (OR) (95% Confidence Interval (CI)) for 50% or greater reduction in total seizure frequency outcome was 3.81 (2.78,5.22). Dose regression analysis shows clear evidence that levetiracetam reduces seizure frequency with an increase in efficacy with increasing dose of levetiracetam. Approximately 15% of patients taking 1000 mg and 20-30% of patients taking 3000 mg levetiracetam per day have a 50% or greater reduction in seizure frequency. Patients were not significantly more likely to have levetiracetam withdrawn, OR (95% CI) 1.25 (0.87,1.80). The following side effects were significantly associated with levetiracetam: dizziness 2.36 (1.21, 4.61) and infection 1.82 (1.05, 3.14) whereas accidental injury was significantly associated with placebo 0.55 (0.32, 0.93). Quality of life and cognitive effect outcomes suggest that levetiracetam has a positive effect on cognition and some aspects of quality of life.
Levetiracetam reduces seizure frequency when used as an add-on treatment for patients with a drug-resistant localization related (partial) epilepsy, and seems well tolerated. Minimum effective and maximum tolerated doses have not been identified. The trials reviewed were of 16-24 weeks duration and results cannot be used to confirm longer term effects. Our results cannot be extrapolated to monotherapy or to patients with other seizure types or epilepsy syndromes. Great care should also be taken with any attempt to apply these results to children.