Phenytoin versus Leviteracetam for Seizure Prophylaxis after brain injury – a meta analysis

Department of Surgery, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.
BMC Neurology (Impact Factor: 2.04). 05/2012; 12(1):30. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2377-12-30
Source: PubMed


Current standard therapy for seizure prophylaxis in Neuro-surgical patients involves the use of Phenytoin (PHY). However, a new drug Levetiracetam (LEV) is emerging as an alternate treatment choice. We aimed to conduct a meta-analysis to compare these two drugs in patients with brain injury.
An electronic search was performed in using Pubmed, Embase, and CENTRAL. We included studies that compared the use of LEV vs. PHY for seizure prophylaxis for brain injured patients (Traumatic brain injury, intracranial hemorrhage, intracranial neoplasms, and craniotomy). Data of all eligible studies was extracted on to a standardized abstraction sheet. Data about baseline population characteristics, type of intervention, study design and outcome was extracted. Our primary outcome was seizures.
The literature search identified 2489 unduplicated papers. Of these 2456 papers were excluded by reading the abstracts and titles. Another 25 papers were excluded after reading their complete text. We selected 8 papers which comprised of 2 RCTs and 6 observational studies. The pooled estimate's Odds Ratio 1.12 (95% CI = 0.34, 3.64) demonstrated no superiority of either drug at preventing the occurrence of early seizures. In a subset analysis of studies in which follow up for seizures lasted either 3 or 7 days, the effect estimate remained insignificant with an odds ratio of 0.96 (95% CI = 0.34, 2.76). Similarly, 2 trials reporting seizure incidence at 6 months also had insignificant pooled results while comparing drug efficacy. The pooled odds ratio was 0.96 (95% CI = 0.24, 3.79).
Levetiracetam and Phenytoin demonstrate equal efficacy in seizure prevention after brain injury. However, very few randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the subject were found. Further evidence through a high quality RCT is highly recommended.

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    • "However, since levetiracetam (LEV) became available in an intravenous formulation, it has been increasingly utilized because it requires no loading dose or ongoing monitoring (16). Recent meta-analysis (17) and clinical data (18) suggest that both agents are equally effective in preventing post-traumatic seizures during the first 7 days post-injury, though to date no data is available to indicate the agents ability to prevent PTE. "
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    ABSTRACT: Moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the leading causes of acquired epilepsy. Prophylaxis for seizures is the standard of care for individuals with moderate to severe injuries at risk for developing seizures, though relatively limited comparative data is available to guide clinicians in their choice of agents. There have however been experimental studies which demonstrate potential neuroprotective qualities of levetiracetam after TBI, and in turn there is hope that eventually such agents may improve neurobehavioral outcomes post-TBI. This mini-review summarizes the available studies and suggests areas for future studies.
    Frontiers in Neurology 12/2013; 4:195. DOI:10.3389/fneur.2013.00195
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    • "The limitation of this study is that the conclusions are based on a few RCT. Thus, additional trials are recommended (19). "
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    ABSTRACT: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause seizures and the development of epilepsy. The incidence of seizures varies from 21% in patients with severe brain injuries to 50% in patients with war-related penetrating TBI. In the acute and sub-acute periods following injury, seizures can lead to increased intracranial pressure and cerebral edema, further complicating TBI management. Anticonvulsants can be used for seizure prophylaxis according to the current Parameters of Practice and Guidelines in a subset of severe TBI patients, and for a limited time window. Phenytoin is the most widely prescribed anticonvulsant in these patients. Intravenous levetiracetam, made available in 2006, is now being considered as a viable option in acute care settings if phenytoin is unavailable or not feasible due to side-effects. We discuss current data regarding the role of intravenous levetiracetam in seizure prophylaxis of severe TBI patients and the need for future studies.
    Frontiers in Neurology 11/2013; 4:170. DOI:10.3389/fneur.2013.00170
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    ABSTRACT: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability throughout the world. Injury can be divided into primary and secondary injuries. For patients with TBI admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), the management and prevention of secondary injury is most important. The third edition of the Brain Trauma Foundation guidelines was published in 2007 and is widely used to guide treatment of patients with severe TBI. This article reviews ICU care of patients with severe TBI, with a particular focus on recent evidence that is not incorporated in the existing guidelines.
    06/2013; 3(2). DOI:10.1007/s40140-013-0012-y
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