New treatment shows benefits for children with epilepsy

unhappy child

Parents of children with epilepsy and pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs) could soon see a new treatment option become available.

A new study from Japan’s University of Yamanashi has demonstrated the potential benefits that treatment with the drug levetiracetam can deliver for younger patients affected by these conditions.

Published in the European Journal of Paediatric Neurology, the study investigated the relationship between behavioural problems, the location of electroencephalogram (EEG) paroxysmal abnormalities and levetiracetam therapy among this patient group.

A total of 12 children were involved in the trial, which saw the subjects receive levetiracetam with an initial dose of ten mg/kg/day for the first week, followed by increments of five mg/kg/day every week. The dosage was then adjusted up to a maximum of 60 mg/kg/day.

EEG recordings were performed every three months, with the researchers counting the frequency of seizures and EEG paroxysmal abnormalities, while instances of panic/aggressive behaviours were scored.

It was found that 66.7 per cent of the patients saw reductions in the number of seizures and paroxysmal abnormalities they experienced during the trial period, while 75 per cent of them saw an easing of their behavioural problems.

The researchers concluded: “The present data indicated the usefulness of LEV in reducing behavioural problems related to the reduction of seizures and frontal spikes in PDD for some, but not all, of the patients.

“Thus, levetiracetam represents an important addition to treatment for PDD children with epilepsy presenting with frontal EEG paroxysms.”

Epilepsy is particularly common in youngsters who have developmental disabilities, with approximately 30 per cent of children with epilepsy having another form of development disorder. The presence of both conditions presents its own unique challenges in terms of treatment and symptom management, meaning research into new therapy options represents an important area of scientific understanding.

Posted by Steve Long