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Cognitive profile in BECTS treated with levetiracetam: A 2-year follow-up

  • Autori: Operto, F.; Pastorino, G.; Mazza, R.; Roccella, M.; Carotenuto, M.; Margari, L.; Verrotti, A.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2019
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


Introduction: Benign epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes (BECTS) is a common epileptic syndrome in childhood, characterized by brief and infrequent partial motor seizures, with or without generalization and mostly recurring during sleep. Because of its favorable efficacy, tolerability, and safety profile, levetiracetam (LEV) monotherapy is often administered in these patients. Long-term effects of LEV therapy and its influence on cognitive functions remain controversial.Purpose: This evaluated the changes in the cognitive profile of children with BECTS treated with LEV monotherapy for 2 years, compared with a control group of children with specific learning disabilities.Method: Our patient cohort included 20 children aged 8-14 years diagnosed as having BECTS and administered LEV monotherapy and 10 age/sex-matched controls with specific learning disabilities. All participants underwent a standardized test for assessing cognitive profile (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - Fourth Edition [WISC-IV]) before drug therapy and after 2 years of treatment. Average LEV blood level and electroencephalo-graphic (EEG) recordings were periodically monitored. Several factors such as age, sex, response to therapy, and EEG pattern changes were considered. Statistical analysis was performed using Student's t-test for paired and independent samples. p < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.Results: Children administered LEV for 24 months showed a mild but statistically significant improvement in overall cognitive abilities. Verbal skills, visual-perceptual reasoning, working memory, and processing speed showed slight but significant improvement. In the control group, cognitive profile remained substantially unchanged at 2-year follow-up.Conclusions: Not only do our data suggest a nonworsening of the cognitive profile in BECTS with LEV but, on the contrary, cognitive scores also improved over time, unlike the control group. (C) 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.