Effect of Brivaracetam on Efficacy and Tolerability in Patients With Brain Tumor-Related Epilepsy: A Retrospective Multicenter Study

Marta Maschio, Andrea Maialetti, Cristina Mocellini, Elisabetta Domina, Giada Pauletto, Cinzia Costa, Addolorata Mascia, Michele Romoli, Diana Giannarelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Epilepsy is a common symptom of brain tumors and is often pharmacoresistent. Among new antiseizure medications (ASMs) Brivaracetam (BRV) has been approved as adjunctive treatment for focal seizures and it was tested in non-oncological patient populations. This is the first study that retrospectively explored efficacy and tolerability of BRV as add-on therapy in brain tumor-related epilepsy (BTRE) patients. Materials and Methods: We reviewed the medical records of 33 BTRE patients from six Italian epilepsy centers; charts included tumor history, diagnosis of BTRE, BRV added as first or second add-on for uncontrolled seizures and/or adverse events (AEs) of the previous ASMs, at least 1-month follow-up, seizure frequency, and AEs assessment. Results: Thirty-three patients (19 males, mean age: 57.6 years; 14 females, mean age: 42.4 years): 11 low grade gliomas, five high grade gliomas, six meningiomas, 10 glioblastomas, one primary cerebral lymphoma. Fourteen patients had focal aware seizures, nine focal unaware, seven focal to bilateral tonic-clonic seizures, three patients presented more than one seizure type: focal unaware with focal to bilateral tonic clonic seizures (two patients) and focal aware and unaware seizures (one patient). Mean seizure frequency in the month preceding BRV introduction: 7.0; at last follow-up: 2.0 (p = 0.001). Seven patients (21.2%) reported AEs (anxiety, agitation, fatigue, vertigo) and three of them (9.0%) required drug withdrawal due to psychiatric adverse events (PAEs). Three other patients withdrew BRV: one for scarce compliance (3.0%), two for uncontrolled seizures (6.0%). Conclusion: Our results showed that BRV could be a new therapeutic option effective in reducing seizures in BTRE patients, taking into account the incidence of PAEs in this particular population. Future and larger prospective studies are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number813
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Publication statusPublished - Aug 19 2020


  • adverse events
  • antiseizure medication
  • brain tumor-related epilepsy
  • brivaracetam
  • glioma
  • responder rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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