Topiramate versus carbamazepine monotherapy for epilepsy: an individual participant data review.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019 06 24; 6:CD012065.CD
This is an updated version of the original Cochrane Review published in Issue 12, 2016. This review is one in a series of Cochrane Reviews investigating pair-wise monotherapy comparisons.Epilepsy is a common neurological condition in which abnormal electrical discharges from the brain cause recurrent unprovoked seizures. It is believed that with effective drug treatment, up to 70% of individuals with active epilepsy have the potential to become seizure-free and go into long-term remission shortly after starting drug therapy, the majority of which may be able to achieve remission with a single antiepileptic drug (AED).The correct choice of first-line AED for individuals with newly diagnosed seizures is of great importance and should be based on the highest-quality evidence available regarding the potential benefits and harms of various treatments for an individual.Topiramate and carbamazepine are commonly used AEDs. Performing a synthesis of the evidence from existing trials will increase the precision of results of outcomes relating to efficacy and tolerability, and may help inform a choice between the two drugs.
To review the time to treatment failure, remission and first seizure with topiramate compared with carbamazepine when used as monotherapy in people with focal onset seizures (simple or complex focal and secondarily generalised), or generalised onset tonic-clonic seizures (with or without other generalised seizure types).
For the latest update we searched the Cochrane Register of Studies (CRS Web), which includes the Cochrane Epilepsy Group Specialized Register and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL); MEDLINE (Ovid); ClinicalTrials.gov; and the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) to 22 May 2018. We imposed no language restrictions. We also contacted pharmaceutical companies and trial investigators.
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing monotherapy with either topiramate or carbamazepine in children or adults with focal onset seizures or generalised onset tonic-clonic seizures (with or without other generalised seizure types).
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
This was an individual participant data (IPD), review. Our primary outcome was time to treatment failure. Our secondary outcomes were time to first seizure post-randomisation, time to six-month remission, time to 12-month remission, and incidence of adverse events. We used Cox proportional hazards regression models to obtain trial-specific estimates of hazard ratios (HRs), with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), using the generic inverse variance method to obtain the overall pooled HR and 95% CI.
IPD were available for 1151 of 1239 eligible individuals from two of three eligible studies (93% of the potential data). A small proportion of individuals recruited into these trials had 'unclassified seizures;' for analysis purposes, these individuals are grouped with those with generalised onset seizures. For remission outcomes, a HR < 1 indicated an advantage for carbamazepine, and for first seizure and treatment failure outcomes, a HR < 1 indicated an advantage for topiramate.The main overall results for the primary outcome, time to treatment failure, given as pooled HR adjusted for seizure type were: time to failure for any reason related to treatment 1.16 (95% CI 0.97 to 1.38); time to failure due to adverse events 1.02 (95% CI 0.82 to 1.27); and time to failure due to lack of efficacy 1.46 (95% CI 1.08 to 1.98). Overall results for secondary outcomes were time to first seizure 1.11 (95% CI 0.96 to 1.29); and time to six-month remission 0.88 (0.76 to 1.01). There were no statistically significant differences between the drugs. A statistically significant advantage for carbamazepine was shown for time to 12-month remission: 0.84 (95% CI 0.71 to 0.99).The results of this review are applicable mainly to individuals with focal onset seizures; 81% of individuals included within the analysis experienced seizures of this type at baseline. For individuals with focal onset seizures, a statistically significant advantage for carbamazepine was shown for time to failure for any reason related to treatment (HR 1.21, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.46), time to treatment failure due to lack of efficacy (HR 1.47, 95% CI 1.07 to 2.02), and time to 12-month remission (HR 0.82, 95% CI 0.69 to 0.99). There was no statistically significant difference between topiramate and carbamazepine for 'time to first seizure' and 'time to six-month remission'.Evidence for individuals with generalised tonic-clonic seizures (9% of participants contributing to the analysis), and unclassified seizure types (10% of participants contributing to the analysis) was very limited; no statistically significant differences were found but CIs were wide; therefore we cannot exclude an advantage to either drug, or a difference between drugs.The most commonly reported adverse events with both drugs were drowsiness or fatigue, "pins and needles" (tingling sensation), headache, gastrointestinal disturbance and anxiety or depression. The rate of adverse events was similar across the two drugs.We judged the methodological quality of the included trials generally to be good; however, there was some evidence that the open-label design of the larger of the two trials may have influenced the treatment failure rate within the trial. Hence, we judged the certainty of the evidence for treatment failure to be moderate for individuals with focal onset seizures and low for individuals with generalised onset seizures. For efficacy outcomes (first seizure, remission), we judged the certainty of evidence from this review to be high for individuals with focal onset seizures and moderate for individuals with generalised onset or unclassified seizures.