Open label, long-term, pragmatic study on levetiracetam in the treatment of juvenile myoclonic epilepsy

Luigi Maria Specchio, Antonio Gambardella, Anna Teresa Giallonardo, Roberto Michelucci, Nicola Specchio, Giovanni Boero, Angela La Neve

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Patients with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) may be resistant or show adverse effects to valproate. We present a multicenter, prospective, long-term, open-label study evaluating the efficacy and safety of levetiracetam in JME. Methods: Patients with newly diagnosed (10) or resistant/intolerant to previous AEDs JME (38) were enrolled. After a 8 week baseline period, levetiracetam was titrated in 2 weeks to 500 mg b.i.d. and then increased up to 3000 mg/day according to the patient's response. Efficacy parameters were: number of seizure-free patients, number of days with myoclonus (DWM), and monthly frequency of generalised tonic-clonic (GTC) seizures. Adverse events were recorded. Results: The overall mean dose of levetiracetam was 2208 mg/day. The mean study period was 19 (range 0.3-38) months. Five patients dropped out. 11/38 (28.9%) patients with add-on treatment and 5/10 (50%) newly diagnosed patients were seizure-free for a mean period of 17.2 (±8.8) months. Eighteen patients (37.5%) were without myoclonia, and 35 (72.9%) had no GTC seizures over the study period. The mean monthly frequency of DWM and of GTC seizures in the entire group was significantly reduced after levetiracetam. Five patients complained of side effects. Conclusions: This open-label study suggests levetiracetam may be effective and well tolerated in resistant cases of JME or may become a reasonable alternative to valproate in newly diagnosed patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-39
Number of pages8
JournalEpilepsy Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2006


  • Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy
  • Levetiracetam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology


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