Add-on use of the medicine sulthiame may reduce seizures in children with myoclonic atonic epilepsy, according to a new study from Argentina.
The study, carried out by Dr Roberto Caraballo and colleagues, was published in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior. The researchers wanted to find out if sulthiame was effective and well tolerated in children.
The research included 35 children with myoclonic atonic epilepsy, also sometimes known as Doose syndrome, who had all tried at least four other epilepsy medicines, but they had not worked. The participants were examined and had EEGs, video-EEGs and MRI scans done. The effectiveness of sulthiame was assessed by comparing the number of seizures before and after using the medicine.
Seizures reduced by more than half in three-fifths of the children (60%) who took sulthiame as an add-on medicine. Two of the children became seizure free. In the remaining children (40%), seizures reduced by between a quarter and a half (25-50%).
The researchers noted that around a third of the children (31.4%) had side effects. These included shortness of breath or unusually fast breathing, a loss of appetite, headaches, or feeling sick, drowsy or irritable. However, the authors said these were mild and passed in all cases, and no one had to come off the medicine because of the side effects.
The study concluded that sulthiame was effective and was well tolerated. It was especially effective for myoclonic-atonic and myoclonic seizures, but also helped with atypical absences and tonic-clonic seizures, the researchers said. However, they added that further studies are needed to better understand the long-term outcomes.
This medicine is available in Australia, the US, Europe and Israel, but it is not yet available in the UK.
The full research is available online.