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

Department of Surgery, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.
BMC Neurology (Impact Factor: 2.49). 05/2012; 12:30. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2377-12-30
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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.


Available from: Muhammad Shahzad Shamim, Jun 11, 2015
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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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    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: Background: Much debate exists on the optimal medication for posttraumatic seizure prophylaxis after traumatic brain injury (TBI). There is some evidence that levetiracetam (LEV) could be neuroprotective and provide long-term benefits in this patient population. Objective: The primary objective was to compare the Glasgow Outcome Scale Extended (GOS-E) 6 months or more after severe TBI. Secondary end points were presence of early seizures (0 to 7 days post-TBI) or late seizures (8 days post-TBI to phone interview), use of anticonvulsant medication when interviewed, medication-related hospital complications, and a summary of phenytoin (PHT) and LEV dosing regimens. Methods: This was an IRB-approved, single-center, prospective cohort analysis. Patients were identified by cross-referencing a list of patients receiving LEV or PHT, with a list of patients with ICD-9 code consistent with TBI. After study inclusion, patients were contacted by telephone, and the GOS-E was administered. Data for secondary end points were gathered by retrospective chart review. Results: In all, 19 patients were included in the final analysis. There was no difference in the GOS-E score assessed >= 6 months after injury (5.07 +/- 1.69 vs 5.60 +/- 2.07, P = 0.58). There was no difference in the secondary end points of early seizures (P = 0.53) or late seizures (P = 0.53). However, the PHT group experienced a higher rate of hospital days with recorded fever (0.20 +/- 0.22 vs 0 0; P = 0.014). Conclusions: Long-term functional outcome in patients who experienced a TBI was not affected by treatment with PHT or LEV; however, patients treated with PHT had a higher incidence of fever during hospitalization.
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