Levetiracetam has been widely used for childhood epilepsy, but there is no high quality evidence to support its use. This study performed a systematic review to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of levetiracetam therapy for childhood epilepsy.
The papers related to levetiracetam therapy for childhood epilepsy published up to March, 2009 were retrieved electronically from the PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane Library, Chinese Biomedical Database, Wanfang and Weipu Chinese Journals Full-text Database. The relevant papers on randomized control trials (RCTs) or quasi-RCTs were studied by meta analysis.
Two papers that met the inclusion criteria were included. The first paper involved 198 patients, including 108 cases in the levetiracetam therapy group and 97 cases in the placebo group. Seven cases (6.9%) were seizure free in the levetiracetam therapy group compared with 1 case (1%) in the placebo group (p<0.01) 14 weeks after treatment. Levetiracetam therapy decreased significantly the frequency of seizures compared with the placebo treatment. The second paper involved 39 patients, including 21 cases in the levetiracetam therapy group and 18 cases in the oxcarbazepine therapy group. Nineteen cases (90.5%) were seizure-free in the levetiracetam therapy group compared with 13 cases (72.2%) in the oxcarbazepine therapy group (P=0.410) during a follow-up of 12-24 months. The adverse effects in the levetiracetam therapy group were not significantly different from the placebo and the oxcarbazepine therapy groups.
The current evidence shows that levetiracetam therapy is effective for childhood epilepsy. However, it needs to be proved by the multi-centre, large sample RCTs.
Zhongguo dang dai er ke za zhi = Chinese journal of contemporary pediatrics 02/2010; 12(2):128-31.