Oxcarbazepine for behavioral disorders after brain injury: Factors influencing efficacy

Marco Pozzi, Paolo Avantaggiato, Valentina Pastore, Carla Carnovale, Emilio Clementi, Sandra Strazzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine are used for behavioral disorders following organic diseases. After severe acquired brain injury, patients may develop frontal symptoms. In our neurological rehabilitation routine, oxcarbazepine is used for better safety over carbamazepine, although its efficacy is not clarified. We aimed to improve knowledge on this use of oxcarbazepine, by probing clinical factors associated with response. We retrospectively examined the clinical records of our patients, collecting clinical variables and outcomes of efficacy, both clinician-rated and caregiver/self-rated. We described the distribution of clinical variables and examined their associations via logistic regressions. Patients in our cohort were predominantly pediatric, with frontal lobe damage and irritable/reactive. With an oxcarbazepine median dose of 975 mg, almost half of patients improved. We found several clinical factors associated with clinician-rated efficacy: Absence of frontal damage and absence of irritability/reactivity symptoms; clinical factors associated with caregivers/patients-rated efficacy were: Higher DRS score at baseline and higher patient age. In this retrospective study, we observed that oxcarbazepine was differentially efficacious in patients with specific characteristics. Our study could not examine drug therapy separately from neuropsychological therapy, nor the influence of dose. Our associative results should be verified experimentally, also assessing causality and establishing dose-related efficacy and safety.

Original languageEnglish
Article number949
Number of pages11
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Neurological rehabilitation
  • Oxcarbazepine
  • Psychomotor agitation
  • Severe acquired brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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