Data from an independent study, conducted by Birmingham University Seizure Clinic, has shown that Keppra (levetiracetam) has high sustainable seizure freedom and retention rates in patients with epilepsy previously resistant to other anti-epileptic drugs.
These figures are considerably higher than rates previously reported in clinical trials. Keppra is indicated as 'add-on' treatment of partial onset seizures in adults with epilepsy.
The study, presented at the Fifth European Congress on Epileptology in Madrid, looked at retention rate and seizure freedom in patients followed up for one year after initial prescription for Keppra. In all, 119 patients who were prescribed Keppra between October 2000 and August 2001 were followed up. Most of the patients had partial onset epilepsy resistant to pharmacological treatment (89) but some patients had resistant primary generalised epilepsy (30).
Twelve months from the initial prescription, 26 per cent of patients were seizure free. The rate of retention for Keppra was very high, with 77 per cent of patients remaining on treatment after 12 months. Twenty one patients had withdrawn after six months, and 27 patients at 12 months. Reasons for withdrawal were given as lack of efficacy, seizure increase and adverse events, including tiredness, depression and ataxia.
Dr Tim Betts, Reader in Neuropsychiatry at Birmingham University and Medical Director of the Birmingham University Seizure Clinic, explained:
"This study has convinced us to position Keppra as our first-line add-on drug - the next drug to be used if the initial monotherapy drug fails. Keppra's simple usage, broad-spectrum of activity, low side-effect rate and lack of interaction combine to position it as the drug of choice for many epilepsy patients".