Anthony G Marson

University of Liverpool, Liverpool, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (183)1215.58 Total impact

  • Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 11/2015; 86(11):e4.147-e4. DOI:10.1136/jnnp-2015-312379.56 · 6.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective Topiramate (TPM) is an antiepileptic drug that is also used for other indications (e.g., migraine). Adverse event (AE) data from epilepsy trials could be supplemented by data from trials in other indications. Combining data across trials and indications is a novel method for evaluating AEs. We conducted a multiple-indications review by systematically reviewing randomized placebo-controlled trials of TPM, to compare the nervous system AEs of TPM in epilepsy with those in other indications.Methods Randomized placebo-controlled trials of TPM including patients with any indication were included. We searched Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (Issue 2, 2012) and MEDLINE (1966–February 2012). Two authors assessed eligibility and risk of bias, and extracted data. For each reported nervous system AE, we extracted event rates, applied random-effects inverse-variance meta-analysis (pooling within-indications then across-indications), and assessed within- and across-indication heterogeneity.ResultsNinety trials, including 16 epilepsy trials, were included. A difference was detected between TPM and placebo for three events (i.e., drooling, dysgeusia, and hypoesthesia) that were not reported in epilepsy trials but were reported by other trials. A difference between TPM and placebo was detected for speech disorder using epilepsy trials but not when combining all trials. For two events (i.e., cognitive disorder and “language problems”), no difference was detected between TPM and placebo when using epilepsy trials alone, but a difference was identified using all trials. A difference was detected between TPM and placebo for six events (i.e., ataxia, disturbance in attention, dizziness, memory impairment, paraesthesia, and somnolence) when using epilepsy trials alone, and using all trials.SignificanceIncluding trials of any indication enabled detection of differences that would have been missed using epilepsy trials alone. Multiple-indications reviews can improve the synthesis of AEs for antiepileptic drugs.
    Epilepsia 10/2015; DOI:10.1111/epi.13209 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    Cerian F Jackson · Selina M Makin · Anthony G Marson · Michael Kerr ·
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Approximately 30% of patients with epilepsy remain refractory to drug treatment and continue to experience seizures whilst taking one or more antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Several non-pharmacological interventions that may be used in conjunction with or as an alternative to AEDs are available for refractory patients. In view of the fact that seizures in people with intellectual disabilities are often complex and refractory to pharmacological interventions, it is evident that good quality randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are needed to assess the efficacy of alternatives or adjuncts to pharmacological interventions.This is an updated version of the original Cochrane review (Beavis 2007) published in The Cochrane Library (2007, Issue 4). Objectives: To assess data derived from randomised controlled trials of non-pharmacological interventions for people with epilepsy and intellectual disabilities.Non-pharmacological interventions include, but are not limited to, the following.• Surgical procedures.• Specialised diets, for example, the ketogenic diet, or vitamin and folic acid supplementation.• Psychological interventions for patients or for patients and carers/parents, for example, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), electroencephalographic (EEG) biofeedback and educational intervention.• Yoga.• Acupuncture.• Relaxation therapy (e.g. music therapy). Search methods: For the latest update of this review, we searched the Cochrane Epilepsy Group Specialised Register (19 August 2014), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) via CRSO (19 August 2014), MEDLINE (Ovid, 1946 to 19 August 2014) and PsycINFO (EBSCOhost, 1887 to 19 August 2014). Selection criteria: Randomised controlled trials of non-pharmacological interventions for people with epilepsy and intellectual disabilities. Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently applied the inclusion criteria and extracted study data. Main results: One study is included in this review. When two surgical procedures were compared, results indicated that corpus callosotomy with anterior temporal lobectomy was more effective than anterior temporal lobectomy alone in improving quality of life and performance on IQ tests among people with epilepsy and intellectual disabilities. No evidence was found to support superior benefit in seizure control for either intervention. This is the only study of its kind and was rated as having an overall unclear risk of bias. The previous update (December 2010) identified one RCT in progress. The study authors have confirmed that they are aiming to publish by the end of 2015; therefore this study (Bjurulf 2008) has not been included in the current review. Authors' conclusions: This review highlights the need for well-designed randomised controlled trials conducted to assess the effects of non-pharmacological interventions on seizure and behavioural outcomes in people with intellectual disabilities and epilepsy.
    Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) 09/2015; 9:CD005502. DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD005502.pub3 · 6.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: People with chronic epilepsy (PWE) often make costly but clinically unnecessary emergency department (ED) visits. Offering them and their carers a self-management intervention that improves confidence and ability to manage seizures may lead to fewer visits. As no such intervention currently exists, we describe a project to develop and pilot one. Methods and analysis: To develop the intervention, an existing group-based seizure management course that has been offered by the Epilepsy Society within the voluntary sector to a broader audience will be adapted. Feedback from PWE, carers and representatives from the main groups caring for PWE will help refine the course so that it addresses the needs of ED attendees. Its behaviour change potential will also be optimised. A pilot randomised controlled trial will then be completed. 80 PWE aged ≥16 who have visited the ED in the prior 12 months on ≥2 occasions, along with one of their family members or friends, will be recruited from three NHS EDs. Dyads will be randomised to receive the intervention or treatment as usual alone. The proposed primary outcome is ED use in the 12 months following randomisation. For the pilot, this will be measured using routine hospital data. Secondary outcomes will be measured by patients and carers completing questionnaires 3, 6 and 12 months postrandomisation. Rates of recruitment, retention and unblinding will be calculated, along with the ED event rate in the control group and an estimate of the intervention's effect on the outcome measures. Ethics and dissemination: Ethical approval: NRES Committee North West-Liverpool East (Reference number 15/NW/0225). The project's findings will provide robust evidence on the acceptability of seizure management training and on the optimal design of a future definitive trial. The findings will be published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at conferences. Trial registration number: ISRCTN13 871 327.
    BMJ Open 07/2015; 5(e009040):1-10. DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009040 · 2.27 Impact Factor
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    Sarah Nolan · Anthony Marson · Jennifer Weston · Catrin Tudur Smith ·

    Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) 07/2015; · 6.03 Impact Factor
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    Sarah J Nolan · Anthony G Marson · Jennifer Weston · Catrin Tudur Smith ·
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    ABSTRACT: Background: This is an updated version of the original Cochrane review published in Issue 2, 2002 and its subsequent update in 2010.Epilepsy is a common neurological condition in which recurrent, unprovoked seizures are caused by abnormal electrical discharges from the brain. It is believed that with effective drug treatment, up to 70% of individuals with active epilepsy have the potential to become seizure-free and go into long-term remission shortly after starting drug therapy with a single antiepileptic drug in monotherapy.Worldwide, carbamazepine and phenytoin are commonly used broad spectrum antiepileptic drugs, suitable for most epileptic seizure types. Carbamazepine is a current first line treatment for partial onset seizures in the USA and Europe. Phenytoin is no longer considered a first line treatment due to concerns over adverse events associated with its use, however the drug is still commonly used in low- to middle-income countries due to it's low cost. No consistent differences in efficacy have been found between carbamazepine and phenytoin in individual trials, however the confidence intervals generated by these studies are wide. Therefore, differences in efficacy may be shown by synthesising the data of the individual trials. Objectives: To review the time to withdrawal, six- and 12-month remission, and first seizure of carbamazepine compared to phenytoin when used as monotherapy in people with partial onset seizures (simple partial, complex partial, or secondarily generalised tonic-clonic seizures) or generalised tonic-clonic seizures, with or without other generalised seizure types. Search methods: We searched the Cochrane Epilepsy Group's Specialised Register (16 September 2014), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL; 2014, Issue 8), MEDLINE (1946 to 16 September 2014), SCOPUS (1823 to 16 September 2014), (16 September 2014), and the World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform ICTRP (18 September 2014). We handsearched relevant journals, contacted pharmaceutical companies, original trial investigators and experts in the field. Selection criteria: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in children or adults with partial onset seizures or generalised onset tonic-clonic seizures with a comparison of carbamazepine monotherapy versus phenytoin monotherapy. Data collection and analysis: This was an individual participant data (IPD) review. Our primary outcome was time to withdrawal of allocated treatment, and our secondary outcomes were time to 12-month remission, time to six-month remission and time to first seizure post-randomisation. We used Cox proportional hazards regression models to obtain study-specific estimates of hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) and the generic inverse variance method to obtain the overall pooled HR and 95% CI. Main results: IPD were available for 595 participants out of 1192 eligible individuals, from four out of 12 trials (i.e. 50% of the potential data). For remission outcomes, HR > 1 indicates an advantage for phenytoin; and for first seizure and withdrawal outcomes, HR > 1 indicates an advantage for carbamazepine. Methodological quality of the four studies providing IPD was generally good and we rated it at low risk of bias overall in the analyses.The main overall results (pooled HR adjusted for seizure type) were time to withdrawal of allocated treatment: 1.04 (95% CI 0.78 to 1.39); time to 12-month remission: 1.01 (95% CI 0.78 to 1.31); time to six-month remission: 1.11 (95% CI 0.81 to 1.37); and time to first seizure: 0.85 (95% CI 0.70 to 1.04). The results suggest no overall statistically significant difference between the drugs for these outcomes. There is some evidence of an advantage for phenytoin for individuals with generalised onset seizures for our primary outcome (time to withdrawal of allocated treatment): pooled HR 0.42 (95% CI 0.18 to 0.96); and a statistical interaction between treatment effect and epilepsy type (partial versus generalised) for this outcome (P = 0.02), however misclassification of seizure type for up to 48 individuals (32% of those with generalised epilepsy) may have confounded the results of this review. Despite concerns over side effects leading to the withdrawal of phenytoin as first line treatment in the USA and Europe, we found no evidence that phenytoin is more likely to be associated with serious side effects than carbamazepine; 26 individuals withdrew from 290 randomised (9%) to carbamazepine due to adverse effects compared to 12 out of 299 (4%) randomised to phenytoin from four studies conducted in the USA and Europe (risk ratio (RR) 1.42, 95% CI 1.13 to 1.80, P = 0.014). We rated the quality of the evidence as low - moderate according to GRADE criteria, due to imprecision and potential misclassification of seizure type. Authors' conclusions: We have not found evidence that a statistically significant difference exists between carbamazepine and phenytoin for the efficacy outcomes examined in this review, however, CIs are wide and the possibility of important differences existing has not been excluded. There is no evidence in this review that phenytoin is more strongly associated with serious adverse events than carbamazepine. There is some evidence that participants with generalised seizures may be less likely to withdraw early from phenytoin than carbamazepine, but misclassification of seizure type may have impacted upon the results of this review. We recommend caution when interpreting the results of this review, and do not recommend that the results of this review alone should be used in choosing between carbamazepine and phenytoin. We recommend that future trials should be designed to the highest quality possible with considerations on allocation concealment and masking, choice of population, choice of outcomes and analysis, and presentation of results.
    Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) 07/2015; 7:CD001904. DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD001904.pub2 · 6.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pharmacogenetic studies have identified the presence of the HLA-A*31:01 allele as a predictor of cutaneous adverse drugs reactions (ADRs) to carbamazepine. This study aimed to ascertain the preferences of patients and clinicians to inform carbamazepine pharmacogenetic testing services. Attributes of importance to people with epilepsy and neurologists were identified through interviews and from published sources. Discrete choice experiments (DCEs) were conducted in 82 people with epilepsy and 83 neurologists. Random-effects logit regression models were used to determine the importance of the attributes and direction of effect. In the patient DCE, all attributes (seizure remission, reduction in seizure frequency, memory problems, skin rash and rare, severe ADRs) were significant. The estimated utility of testing was greater, at 0.52 (95% CI, 0.19 to 1.00) than not testing at 0.33 (95% CI, -0.07 to 0.81). In the physician DCE, cost, inclusion in the British National Formulary, coverage, negative predictive value (NPV), and positive predictive value (PPV) were significant. Marginal rates of substitution indicated that neurologists were willing to pay £5.87 for a 1 percentage point increase in NPV and £3.99 for a 1 percentage point increase in PPV. The inclusion of both patients' and clinicians' perspectives represents an important contribution to the understanding of preferences towards pharmacogenetic testing prior to initiating carbamazepine. Both groups identified different attributes but had generally consistent preferences. Patients' acceptance of a decrease in treatment benefit for a reduced chance of severe ADRs adds support for the implementation of HLA-A*31:01 testing in routine practice. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 07/2015; 80(5). DOI:10.1111/bcp.12715 · 3.88 Impact Factor
  • Jennifer Weston · Arif Shukralla · Andrew J McKay · Anthony G Marson ·
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    ABSTRACT: Around half of people with epilepsy will not achieve seizure freedom on their first antiepileptic drug; many will require add-on treatment with another drug. Sometimes multiple treatment combinations are tried to achieve maximum seizure control, although around a third of people do not achieve complete seizure control. Lacosamide is an antiepileptic drug that has been licensed as an add-on treatment for partial epilepsy. To evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of lacosamide when used as an add-on treatment for patients with drug-resistant partial epilepsy. We searched the Cochrane Epilepsy Group's Specialized Register (21 May 2015), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL , The Cochrane Library Issue 4, April 2015), MEDLINE (Ovid, 1946 to 21 May 2015), Scopus (1823 to 13 November 2014), (21 May 2015) and the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP, 21 May 2015). We imposed no language restrictions. We contacted UCB (sponsors of lacosamide) and experts in the field. Randomised controlled trials of add-on lacosamide in people with drug-resistant partial epilepsy. Two review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion and extracted the relevant data. We assessed the following outcomes: (1) 50% or greater reduction in seizure frequency; (2) seizure freedom; (3) treatment withdrawal for any reason; and (4) adverse events. Primary analyses were intention-to-treat. Summary risk ratios were estimated for each outcome. We included three trials in our review (1311 participants), which were classified as having low risk of bias. All trials were placebo-controlled and assessed doses ranging from 200 mg to 600 mg per day. Trial duration ranged from 24 to 26 weeks. All trials used adequate methods of randomisation and were double-blind. Overall the quality of the evidence was rated as moderate to high. The overall risk ratio for a 50% or greater reduction in seizure frequency for all doses of lacosamide compared with placebo was 1.70 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.38 to 2.10); for seizure freedom for all doses of lacosamide compared with placebo was 2.50 (95% CI 0.85 to 7.34); and for treatment withdrawal for all doses of lacosamide compared with placebo was 1.88 (95% CI 1.40 to 2.52). Adverse effects significantly associated with lacosamide were abnormal co-ordination (risk ratio (RR) 6.12, 99% CI 1.35 to 27.77), diplopia (RR 5.29, 99% CI 1.97 to 14.23), dizziness (RR 3.53, 99% CI 2.20 to 5.68), nausea (RR 2.37, 99% CI 1.23 to 4.58) and vomiting (RR 3.49, 99% CI 1.43 to 8.54). Adverse effects that were not statistically significant were headache (RR 1.34, 99% CI 0.83 to 2.18), fatigue (RR 2.11, 99% CI 0.92 to 4.85), nystagmus (RR 1.47, 99% CI 0.61 to 3.52) and somnolence (RR 1.44, 99% CI 0.67 to 3.09). This review has shown lacosamide to be effective and fairly well tolerated in the short term when used as add-on treatment for drug-resistant partial epilepsy in adults. Higher doses of lacosamide may be more associated with adverse effects and withdrawal of the drug than lower doses. Additional evidence on children is needed, and longer-term efficacy is unknown.
    Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) 06/2015; 6:CD008841. DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD008841.pub2 · 6.03 Impact Factor
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    Melissa Jane Maguire · Cerian Jackson · Anthony G Marson ·

    Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) 06/2015; · 6.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Numerous diverse biological pathways are dysregulated in the epileptic focus. Which of these pathways are most critical in producing the biological abnormalities that lead to epilepsy? Answering this question is key to identifying the primary causes of epilepsy and for discovering new therapeutic strategies with greater efficacy than currently available antiepileptics (AEDs). We have performed the largest genome-wide transcriptomic analysis to date comparing epileptic with normal human hippocampi. We have identified 118 differentially expressed and, for the first time, differentially connected pathways in the epileptic focus. Using network mapping techniques, we have shown that these dysregulated pathways, though seemingly disparate, form a coherent interconnected central network. Using closeness centrality analysis, we have identified that the most influential hub pathways in this network are signalling through G protein-coupled receptors, in particular opioid receptors, and their downstream effectors PKA/CREB and DAG/IP3. Next, we have objectively demonstrated that genetic-association of gene-sets in independent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) can be used to identify causally-relevant gene-sets: we show that proven causal epilepsy genes, which cause familial Mendelian epilepsy syndromes, are associated in published sporadic epilepsy GWAS results. Using the same technique, we have shown that central pathways identified (opioid receptor and PKA/CREB and DAG/IP3 signalling pathways) are genetically-associated with focal epilepsy and, hence, likely causal. Published functional studies in animal models provide evidence of a role for these pathways in epilepsy. Our work shows that these pathways play a central role in human focal epilepsy, and that they are important currently unexploited antiepileptic drug targets. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:
    Human Molecular Genetics 05/2015; 24(15). DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddv163 · 6.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Treatment decisions should be informed by high quality evidence of both the potential benefit and harms of treatment alternatives. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) provide the best evidence regarding benefits; however information relating to serious, rare and long-term harms is usually available only from non-randomised studies (NRSs). The aim of this study was to use a checklist based on the CONSORT (Consolidating Standards for Reporting Trials) extension for harms recommendations to assess the quality of reporting of harms data in both NRSs and RCTs of antiepileptic drugs, using studies of topiramate as an example. Seventy-eight studies were included from an online search of seven databases. Harms data was extracted from each study using a 25-point checklist. The mean number of items met was 11.5 (SD 2.96) per study. Commercially funded studies met on average 12.7 items and non-commercially funded studies met 10.08 (p value<0.001). RCTs met on average 13.0 items and NRSs met 10.8 (p=0.001). Multi-centre studies and commercially funded studies met significantly more items than single centre and non-commercially funded studies respectively. There was no significant difference in the mean number of items met by studies that had included adult vs. child participants, or studies published pre- vs. post-CONSORT extension for harms in 2004. Reporting of harms is significantly better in RCTs than in NRSs of TPM, but is suboptimal overall and has not improved since the publication of CONSORT extension for harms in 2004. There is a need to improve the reporting of harms in order to better inform treatment decisions. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Epilepsy Research 05/2015; 114. DOI:10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2015.04.019 · 2.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This document provides guidance on the use of valproate in women and girls from a joint task force of the Commission of European Affairs of the International League Against Epilepsy (CEA-ILAE) and the European Academy of Neurology (EAN), following strengthened warnings from the Coordination Group for Mutual Recognition and Decentralised Procedures-Human (CMDh) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which highlight the risk of malformations and developmental problems in babies who are exposed to valproate in the womb. To produce these recommendations, the Task Force has considered teratogenic risks associated with use valproate and treatment alternatives, the importance of seizure control and of patient and foetal risks with seizures, and the effectiveness of valproate and treatment alternatives in the treatment of different epilepsies. The Task Force's recommendations include the following: Where possible, valproate should be avoided in women of childbearing potential. The choice of treatment for women of childbearing potential should be based on a shared decision between clinician and patient, and where appropriate the patient's representatives. Discussions should include a careful risk benefit assessment of reasonable treatment options for the patient's seizure or epilepsy type. For seizure (or epilepsy) types where valproate is the most effective treatment, the risks and benefits of valproate and other treatment alternatives should be discussed. Valproate should not be prescribed as a first-line treatment for focal epilepsy. Valproate may be offered as a first line treatment for epilepsy syndromes where it is the most effective treatment, including idiopathic (genetic) generalized syndromes associated with tonic clonic seizures. Valproate may be offered as a first-line treatment in situations where pregnancy is highly unlikely (e.g. significant intellectual or physical disability). Women and girls taking valproate require regular follow-up for ongoing consideration of the most appropriate treatment regimen. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Epilepsia 04/2015; DOI:10.1111/epi.13021 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a neuromodulatory treatment that is used as an adjunctive therapy for treating people with medically refractory epilepsy. VNS consists of chronic intermittent electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve, delivered by a programmable pulse generator. The majority of people given a diagnosis of epilepsy have a good prognosis, and their seizures will be controlled by treatment with a single antiepileptic drug (AED), but up to 20%-30% of patients will develop drug-resistant epilepsy, often requiring treatment with combinations of AEDs. The aim of this systematic review was to overview the current evidence for the efficacy and tolerability of vagus nerve stimulation when used as an adjunctive treatment for people with drug-resistant partial epilepsy. This is an updated version of a Cochrane review published in Issue 7, 2010. Objectives: To determine:(1) The effects on seizures of VNS compared to controls e.g. high-level stimulation compared to low-level stimulation (presumed sub-therapeutic dose); and(2) The adverse effect profile of VNS compared to controls e.g. high-level stimulation compared to low-level stimulation. Search methods: We searched the Cochrane Epilepsy Group's Specialised Register (23 February 2015), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 23 February 2015), MEDLINE (1946 to 23 February 2015), SCOPUS (1823 to 23 February 2015), (23 February 2015) and ICTRP (23 February 2015). No language restrictions were imposed. Selection criteria: The following study designs were eligible for inclusion: randomised, double-blind, parallel or crossover studies, controlled trials of VNS as add-on treatment comparing high and low stimulation paradigms (including three different stimulation paradigms - duty cycle: rapid, mid and slow) and VNS stimulation versus no stimulation or a different intervention. Eligible participants were adults or children with drug-resistant partial seizures not eligible for surgery or who failed surgery. Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently selected trials for inclusion and extracted data. The following outcomes were assessed: (a) 50% or greater reduction in total seizure frequency; (b) treatment withdrawal (any reason); (c) adverse effects; (d) quality of life; (e) cognition; (f) mood. Primary analyses were intention-to-treat. Sensitivity best and worst case analyses were also undertaken to account for missing outcome data. Pooled Risk Ratios (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (95% Cl) were estimated for the primary outcomes of seizure frequency and treatment withdrawal. For adverse effects, pooled RRs and 99% CI's were calculated. Main results: Five trials recruited a total of 439 participants and between them compared different types of VNS stimulation therapy. Baseline phase ranged from 4 to 12 weeks and double-blind treatment phases from 12 to 20 weeks in the five trials. Overall, two studies were rated as having a low risk of bias and three had an unclear risk of bias due to lack of reported information around study design. Effective blinding of studies of VNS is difficult due to the frequency of stimulation-related side effects such as voice alteration; this may limit the validity of the observed treatment effects. Four trials compared high frequency stimulation to low frequency stimulation and were included in quantitative syntheses (meta-analyses).The overall risk ratio (95% CI) for 50% or greater reduction in seizure frequency across all studies was 1.73 (1.13 to 2.64) showing that high frequency VNS was over one and a half times more effective than low frequency VNS. For this outcome, we rated the evidence as being moderate in quality due to incomplete outcome data in one included study; however results did not vary substantially and remained statistically significant for both the best and worst case scenarios. The risk ratio (RR) for treatment withdrawal was 2.56 (0.51 to 12.71), however evidence for this outcome was rated as low quality due to imprecision of the result and incomplete outcome data in one included study. The RR of adverse effects were as follows: (a) voice alteration and hoarseness 2.17 (99% CI 1.49 to 3.17); (b) cough 1.09 (99% CI 0.74 to 1.62); (c) dyspnea 2.45 (99% CI 1.07 to 5.60); (d) pain 1.01 (99% CI 0.60 to 1.68); (e) paresthesia 0.78 (99% CI 0.39 to 1.53); (f) nausea 0.89 (99% CI 0.42 to 1.90); (g) headache 0.90 (99% CI 0.48 to 1.69); evidence of adverse effects was rated as moderate to low quality due to imprecision of the result and/or incomplete outcome data in one included study. No important heterogeneity between studies was found for any of the outcomes. Authors' conclusions: VNS for partial seizures appears to be an effective and well tolerated treatment in 439 included participants from five trials. Results of the overall efficacy analysis show that VNS stimulation using the high stimulation paradigm was significantly better than low stimulation in reducing frequency of seizures. Results for the outcome "withdrawal of allocated treatment" suggest that VNS is well tolerated as withdrawals were rare. No significant difference was found in withdrawal rates between the high and low stimulation groups, however limited information was available from the evidence included in this review so important differences between high and low stimulation cannot be excluded . Adverse effects associated with implantation and stimulation were primarily hoarseness, cough, dyspnea, pain, paresthesia, nausea and headache, with hoarseness and dyspnea more likely to occur on high stimulation than low stimulation. However, the evidence on these outcomes is limited and of moderate to low quality. Further high quality research is needed to fully evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of VNS for drug resistant partial seizures.
    Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) 04/2015; 4:CD002896. DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD002896.pub2 · 6.03 Impact Factor
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    Catrin O. Plumpton · Ian Brown · Markus Reuber · Anthony G. Marson · Dyfrig A. Hughes ·
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    ABSTRACT: Between 35% and 50% of patients with epilepsy are reported to be not fully adherent to their medication schedule. We aimed to conduct an economic evaluation of strategies for improving adherence to antiepileptic drugs. Based on the findings of a systematic review, we identified an implementation intention intervention (specifying when, where, and how to act) which was tested in a trial that closely resembled current clinical management of patients with epilepsy and which measured adherence with an objective and least biased method. Using patient-level data, trial patients were matched with those recruited for the Standard and New Antiepileptic Drugs trial according to their clinical characteristics and adherence. Generalized linear models were used to adjust cost and utility in order to estimate the incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained from the perspective of the National Health Service in the UK. The mean cost of the intervention group, £1340 (95% CI: £1132, £1688), was marginally lower than that of the control group representing standard care, £1352 (95% CI: £1132, £1727). Quality-adjusted life-year values in the intervention group were higher than those in the control group, i.e., 0.75 (95% CI: 0.70, 0.79) compared with 0.74 (95% CI: 0.68, 0.79), resulting in a cost saving of £12 (€15, US$19) and with the intervention being dominant. The probability that the intervention is cost-effective at a threshold of £20,000 per QALY is 94%. Our analysis lends support to the cost-effectiveness of a self-directed, implementation intention intervention for improving adherence to antiepileptic drugs. However, as with any modeling dependent on limited data on efficacy, there is considerable uncertainty surrounding the clinical effectiveness of the intervention which would require a substantive trial for a more definitive conclusion. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Epilepsy & Behavior 03/2015; 45. DOI:10.1016/j.yebeh.2015.01.035 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    Peter A Dixon · Jamie J Kirkham · Anthony G Marson · Mike G Pearson ·
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    ABSTRACT: About 100 000 people present to hospitals each year in England with an epileptic seizure. How they are managed is unknown; thus, the National Audit of Seizure management in Hospitals (NASH) set out to assess prior care, management of the acute event and follow-up of these patients. This paper describes the data from the second audit conducted in 2013. 154 emergency departments (EDs) across the UK. Data from 4544 attendances (median age of 45 years, 57% men) showed that 61% had a prior diagnosis of epilepsy, 12% other neurological problems and 22% were first seizure cases. Each ED identified 30 consecutive adult cases presenting due to a seizure. Details were recorded of the patient's prior care, management at hospital and onward referral to neurological specialists onto an online database. Descriptive results are reported at national level. Of those with epilepsy, 498 (18%) were on no antiepileptic drug therapy and 1330 (48%) were on monotherapy. Assessments were often incomplete and witness histories were sought in only 759 (75%) of first seizure patients, 58% were seen by a senior doctor and 57% were admitted. For first seizure patients, advice on further seizure management was given to 264 (27%) and only 55% were referred to a neurologist or epilepsy specialist. For each variable, there was wide variability among sites that was not explicable. For the sites who partook in both audits, there was a trend towards better care in 2013, but this was small and dwarfed by the intersite variability. These results have parallels with the Sentinel Audit of Stroke performed a decade earlier. There is wide intersite variability in care covering the entire care pathway, and a need for better organised and accessible care for these patients. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to
    BMJ Open 03/2015; 5(3):e007325. DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-007325 · 2.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although temporal lobe surgery is an effective treatment for patients with intractable mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE), a third of patients will continue to experience seizures at 2 years after surgery. The reasons are unknown. One suggestion is that patients with abnormalities of the entorhinal cortex might have a subtype of mTLE that is resistant to surgery. We investigated the association between presurgical entorhinal cortex volume and postoperative outcome in patients with mTLE. 78 patients with intractable mTLE and unilateral hippocampal sclerosis underwent comprehensive presurgical evaluation at the Department of Epileptology, University Hospital Bonn, Germany. Patients and 76 age-matched healthy controls received an MP-RAGE T1-weighted MRI. We determined left and right entorhinal cortex volume, masked to participant identity, using rigorous manual techniques. All patients had complex partial seizures, underwent amygdalohippocampectomy, and received postoperative outcome assessment. There was a significant effect of group (controls, left mTLE, right mTLE) on the volume of the left (univariate ANOVA F=29·6, p<0·001) and right (F=8·3, p<0·001) entorhinal cortex, and entorhinal asymmetry (F=92·6, p<0·001). Post-hoc analysis with Bonferroni correction revealed that patients with left (p<0·001) and right (p=0·01) mTLE had significantly reduced volume of the ipsilateral entorhinal cortex relative to controls, and patients with right mTLE also had volume reduction of the contralateral entorhinal cortex (p=0·01). We found no significant differences in entorhinal cortex volumes and clinical data between patients (n=48, 62%) surgically rendered seizure free (ILAE I-II) and patients (n=30, 38%) with persistent seizures (ILAE III-VI). These data indicate that gross atrophy of the entorhinal cortex is not a predictor of postoperative outcome in patients with intractable mTLE. We are evaluating whether alterations in entorhinal cortex connectivity and extent of resection are related to postoperative outcome in our series of patients. This work was supported by a UK Medical Research Council grant awarded to SSK. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    The Lancet 02/2015; 385. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60349-X · 45.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective Carbamazepine causes severe cutaneous adverse drug reactions that may be predicted by the presence of the HLA-A*31:01 allele in northern European populations. There is uncertainty as to whether routine testing of patients with epilepsy is cost-effective. We conducted an economic evaluation of HLA-A*31:01 testing from the perspective of the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom.MethodsA short-term, decision analytic model was developed to estimate the outcomes and costs associated with a policy of routine testing (with lamotrigine prescribed for patients who test positive) versus the current standard of care, which is carbamazepine prescribed without testing. A Markov model was used to estimate total costs and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) over a lifetime to account for differences in drug effectiveness and the long-term consequences of adverse drug reactions.ResultsTesting reduced the expected rate of cutaneous adverse drug reactions from 780 to 700 per 10,000 patients. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for pharmacogenetic testing versus standard care was £12,808 per QALY gained. The probability of testing being cost-effective at a threshold of £20,000 per QALY was 0.80, but the results were sensitive to estimated remission rates for alternative antiepileptic drugs (AEDs).SignificanceRoutine testing for HLA-A*31:01 in order to reduce the incidence of cutaneous adverse drug reactions in patients being prescribed carbamazepine for epilepsy is likely to represent a cost-effective use of health care resources.
    Epilepsia 02/2015; 56(4). DOI:10.1111/epi.12937 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Objective We aimed to review and synthesise evidence from randomised controlled trials and prospective non-randomised studies of antidepressants used for treating depression in patients with epilepsy. The primary objectives were to evaluate the efficacy and safety of antidepressants in treating depressive symptoms and the effect on seizure recurrence. Method A search of the databases was carried. There were no language restrictions. RCTs and prospective non randomised cohort controlled and uncontrolled studies investigating children or adults with epilepsy treated with an antidepressant for depressive symptoms were included. Data were extracted on trial design factors, patient demographics, and outcomes for each study. The primary outcomes were changes in depression scores and change in seizure frequency. Secondary outcomes included the number of patients withdrawing from the study and reasons of withdrawal and also any adverse events. Binary outcomes were presented as risk ratios and 95% CI. Continuous outcomes were presented as the standardised mean differences and 95% CI. Risk of bias was assessed using a version of the extended Cochrane Collaboration's tool for assessing risk of bias in both RCTs and non randomised studies. Results Eight studies, three RCTs and five prospective cohort studies including 471 patients with epilepsy treated with an antidepressant were included. The RCTs were all single centred studies comparing antidepressant versus active control, placebo or no treatment. The five non randomised prospective cohort studies reported on outcomes mainly in partial epilepsy treated for depression with a selective serotonin reputable inhibitor(SSRI). We were unable to perform any meta analysis for the proportion with a >50% improvement in depression scores because the studies reported on different treatment comparisons. For the mean depression in depression score we were able to perform a limited meta analysis of two prospective cohort studies of citalopram including a total of 88 patients. The effect estimate was 1.17 (CI 0.96–1.38) for the mean difference in depression scores. Seizure frequency data were not reported in any RCTs. The treatment group on three prospective studies didn't report any significant increase in seizure frequency. Patients given an antidepressant were more likely to withdraw due to adverse events than inefficacy. Conclusion Current evidence suggests antidepressants of various classes are effective in treating depressive symptoms associated with epilepsy. However we have no high quality evidence of informing on the best choice of antidepressant drug or class of drug in treating depression in patients with epilepsy. This review provides low quality evidence that SSRIs are not associated with seizure exacerbation, but there are currently no data comparing antidepressant classes.
    Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 02/2015; 86:e2. DOI:10.1136/jnnp-2015-311750.44 · 6.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To compare quality-of-life (QoL) outcomes over 2 years following initiation of treatment with a standard or newer antiepileptic drug (AED) in adults with new-onset epilepsy. To examine the impact of seizure remission and failure of initial treatment on QoL outcomes measured over 2 years. We conducted a pragmatic, randomized, unblinded, multicenter, parallel-group clinical trial (the Standard and New Antiepileptic Drugs [SANAD] trial) comparing clinical and cost effectiveness of initiating treatment with carbamazepine versus lamotrigine, gabapentin, oxcarbazepine and topiramate, and valproate versus lamotrigine and topiramate. QoL data were collected by mail at baseline, 3 months, and at 1 and 2 years using validated measures. These data were analyzed using longitudinal data models. Continuous QoL measures, time to 12-month remission and time to treatment withdrawal were explored using joint models. Baseline questionnaires were returned by 1,575 adults; 1,439 returned the 3-month questionnaire, 1,274 returned the 1-year questionnaire, and 1,121 returned the 2-year questionnaire. There were few statistically significant differences between drugs over 2 years in QoL outcomes. Significant association was identified between QoL scores over the 2-year time frame and the risk of experiencing a 12-month remission or treatment withdrawal over that period. The choice of initial treatment had no significant effect on QoL by 2-year follow-up. However, overall QoL was reduced with continued seizures, adverse events, and failure of the initial treatment. Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 International League Against Epilepsy.
    Epilepsia 01/2015; 56(3). DOI:10.1111/epi.12913 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective There are competing explanations for persistent postoperative seizures after temporal lobe surgery. One is that 1 or more particular subtypes of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE) exist that are particularly resistant to surgery. We sought to identify a common brain structural and connectivity alteration in patients with persistent postoperative seizures using preoperative quantitative magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).Methods We performed a series of studies in 87 patients with mTLE (47 subsequently rendered seizure free, 40 who continued to experience postoperative seizures) and 80 healthy controls. We investigated the relationship between imaging variables and postoperative seizure outcome. All patients had unilateral temporal lobe seizure onset, had ipsilateral hippocampal sclerosis as the only brain lesion, and underwent amygdalohippocampectomy.ResultsQuantitative imaging factors found not to be significantly associated with persistent seizures were volumes of ipsilateral and contralateral mesial temporal lobe structures, generalized brain atrophy, and extent of resection. There were nonsignificant trends for larger amygdala and entorhinal resections to be associated with improved outcome. However, patients with persistent seizures had significant atrophy of bilateral dorsomedial and pulvinar thalamic regions, and significant alterations of DTI-derived thalamotemporal probabilistic paths bilaterally relative to those patients rendered seizure free and controls, even when corrected for extent of mesial temporal lobe resection.InterpretationPatients with bihemispheric alterations of thalamotemporal structural networks may represent a subtype of mTLE that is resistant to temporal lobe surgery. Increasingly sensitive multimodal imaging techniques should endeavor to transform these group-based findings to individualize prediction of patient outcomes. Ann Neurol 2015;77:760–774
    Annals of Neurology 01/2015; 77(5). DOI:10.1002/ana.24376 · 9.98 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

4k Citations
1,215.58 Total Impact Points


  • 1996-2015
    • University of Liverpool
      • • Department of Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology
      • • Department of Psychological Sciences
      • • Department of Mathematical Sciences
      Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
  • 1998-2013
    • The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust
      Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
  • 2012
    • Paracelsus Medical University Salzburg
      Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria
  • 2010-2011
    • The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
      Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, United Kingdom
  • 2009
    • The University of Warwick
      Coventry, England, United Kingdom
  • 2007
    • Cardiff University
      Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
  • 2001
    • Apollo Hospitals
      Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
    • Mahidol University
      Krung Thep, Bangkok, Thailand