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Efficacy and safety profile of intravenous levetiracetam versus phenytoin in convulsive status epilepticus and acute repetitive seizures in children.

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Efficacy and safety profile of intravenous levetiracetam versus phenytoin in convulsive status epilepticus and acute repetitive seizures in children.

Epilepsy Behav. 2020 Jul 20;111:107289

Authors: Besli GE, Yuksel Karatoprak E, Yilmaz S

PURPOSE: Although phenytoin is one of the most commonly used antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), it has potential serious side effects and drug interactions. Levetiracetam is a relatively newer AED with favorable pharmacokinetics and could be an effective and safer option for the treatment of convulsive status epilepticus (CSE). We aimed to compare the efficacy and safety profile of intravenous levetiracetam and phenytoin as second-line treatment agents in children with CSE and acute repetitive seizures (ARS).
METHOD: Two hundred seventy-seven patients aged between 1 month and 18 years who received intravenous levetiracetam or phenytoin as a second-line AED with the diagnosis of CSE or ARS were retrospectively evaluated. Drug efficacy was defined as control of seizures without the need for any additional medication after completion of the infusion and no recurrence in the following 12 h. The primary outcome was drug efficacy. The secondary outcomes included application of an additional second-line AED, induction of anesthesia, and admission to the intensive care unit (ICU), and drug-related adverse reactions.
RESULTS: No differences were found between the two treatment groups with regard to patient characteristics and seizure type. The efficacy of levetiracetam was higher than that of phenytoin (77.6% vs 57.7%, P = 0.011) in children with CSE. There was no significant difference between the efficacy rates of levetiracetam and phenytoin for ARS (55.8% vs 58.8%, P = 0.791). Overall, drug efficacy was 70.9% for levetiracetam and 58.1% for phenytoin (P = 0.048). For CSE, the need for additional second-line treatment, anesthesia induction, and ICU admission was higher in the phenytoin group (P = 0.001, P = 0.038, P = 0.02, respectively). Drug-related adverse reactions were more frequent in the phenytoin group than the levetiracetam group (23.3% vs 1.4%; P < 0.001). The most common adverse reaction in the phenytoin group was hypotension. Phenytoin-related anaphylaxis was detected in one patient. No serious adverse effects related to levetiracetam were observed.
CONCLUSIONS: Intravenous levetiracetam seems as effective as intravenous phenytoin in emergency treatment of children with ARS and more effective for CSE in stopping the seizure with less risk of recurrence. Levetiracetam has fewer cardiovascular side effects and has a safer profile than phenytoin. Intravenous levetiracetam is a favorable option as a first second-line AED for pediatric seizures.

PMID: 32702655 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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