An open-label trial of levetiracetam in severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy

P. Striano, A. Coppola, M. Pezzella, C. Ciampa, N. Specchio, F. Ragona, M. M. Mancardi, E. Gennaro, F. Beccaria, G. Capovilla, P. Rasmini, D. Besana, G. G. Coppola, M. Elia, T. Granata, M. Vecchi, F. Vigevano, M. Viri, R. Gaggero, S. StrianoF. Zara

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OBJECTIVE: To conduct an open-label, add-on trial on safety and efficacy of levetiracetam in severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy (SMEI). PATIENTS AND METHODS: SMEI patients were recruited from different centers according to the following criteria: age ≥3 years; at least four tonic-clonic seizures/month during the last 8 weeks; previous use of at least two drugs. Levetiracetam was orally administrated at starting dose of approximately 10 mg/kg/day up to 50 to 60 mg/kg/day in two doses. Treatment period included a 5- to 6-week up-titration phase and a 12-week evaluation phase. Efficacy variables were responder rate by seizure type and reduction of the mean number per week of each seizure type. Analysis was performed using Fisher exact and Wilcoxon tests. RESULTS: Twenty-eight patients (mean age: 9.4 ± 5.6 years) entered the study. Sixteen (57.1%) showed SCN1A mutations. Mean number of concomitant drugs was 2.5. Mean levetiracetam dose achieved was 2,016 mg/day. Twenty-three (82.1%) completed the trial. Responders were 64.2% for tonic-clonic, 60% for myoclonic, 60% for focal, and 44.4% for absence seizures. Number per week of tonic-clonic (median: 3 vs 1; p = 0.0001), myoclonic (median: 21 vs 3; p = 0.002), and focal seizures (median: 7.5 vs 3; p = 0.031) was significantly decreased compared to baseline. Levetiracetam effect was not related to age at onset and duration of epilepsy, genetic status, and concomitant therapy. Levetiracetam was well tolerated by subjects who completed the study. To date, follow-up ranges 6 to 36 months (mean, 16.2 ± 13.4). CONCLUSION: Levetiracetam add-on is effective and well tolerated in severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy. Placebo-controlled studies should confirm these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-254
Number of pages5
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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