BACKGROUND: Recent clinical evidence supports a targeted therapeutic approach for genetic epileptic encephalopathies based on the molecular dysfunction.
PATIENT DESCRIPTION: A 2-day-old male infant presented with epileptic encephalopathy characterized by burst-suppression EEG background and tonic-clonic migrating partial seizures. The condition was refractory to phenobarbital, pyridoxine, pyridoxal phosphate and levetiracetam, but a dramatic response to an intravenous loading dose of phenytoin was documented by video-EEG monitoring. Over weeks phenytoin was successfully switched to carbamazepine to prevent seizure relapses associated with difficulty in maintaining proper blood levels of phenytoin. Genetic analysis identified a novel de novo heterozygous mutation (c.[4633A>G]p.[Met1545Val]) in SCN2A. At two years and three months of age the patient is still seizure-free on carbamazepine, although a developmental delay is evident.
CONCLUSIONS: Sodium channel blockers represent the first-line treatment for confirmed or suspected SCN2A-related epileptic encephalopathies. In severe cases with compatible electro-clinical features we propose a treatment algorithm based on a test trial with high dose intravenous phenytoin followed in case of a positive response by carbamazepine, more suitable for long-term maintenance treatment. Because of their rarity, collaborative studies are needed to delineate shared therapeutic protocols for EIEE based on the electro-clinical features and the presumed underlying genetic substrate.
- Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
- Infant, Newborn
- NAV1.2 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel
- Sodium Channel Blockers
- Spasms, Infantile
- Treatment Outcome
- Case Reports
- Journal Article