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An overview of the efficacy and tolerability of new antiepileptic drugs.

Author(s): Chadwick DW

Affiliation(s): Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Liverpool, England.

Publication date & source: 1997, Epilepsia., 38 Suppl 1:S59-62.

Publication type: Meta-Analysis

To evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of recently developed antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), a systematic review of placebo-controlled, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of the AEDs as add-on therapy in refractory partial epilepsy was conducted. Two or more RCTs meeting our inclusion criteria were found for gabapentin (GBP), lamotrigine (LTG), tiagabine (TGB), topiramate (TPM), vigabatrin (VGB), and zonisamide (ZNS). The outcome selected for estimation of efficacy was the proportion of patients experiencing a > or = 50% reduction in seizure frequency from baseline. Tolerability was estimated on the basis of rates of patient withdrawal from study for any reason. Efficacy and tolerability odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) for each measure were generated for each trial included in the analysis, and overall efficacy and tolerability ORs were calculated for each AED across all trials and drug dosages evaluated. Because 95% CIs for both efficacy and tolerability overlapped for the six drugs, conclusive evidence of between-drug differences in effectiveness or safety were not obtained from the analysis. However, the data suggest that the drug with the highest OR for efficacy (TPM) may be approximately twice as effective as the AED with the lowest OR for efficacy (GBP), and that the treatment that appears to most frequently cause withdrawal (ZNS) may be about four times more likely to do so that the AED with the lowest withdrawal rate (LTG). RCTs comparing newer AEDs with the older standard drugs and with each other are needed to further evaluate their relative utility.

Page last updated: 2006-01-31

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