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Levetiracetam, lamotrigine, and phenobarbital in patients with epileptic seizures and Alzheimer's disease.

Author(s): Cumbo E, Ligori LD.

Affiliation(s): Alzheimer Unit, Neuroscience Department, ASP Caltanissetta, Caltanissetta, Italy. linda.stephen@ggc.scot.nhs.uk

Publication date & source: 2010, Epilepsy Behav. , 17(4):461-6

The objective of the study described here was to evaluate the efficacy, tolerability, and cognitive effects of levetiracetam (LEV) in patients with seizures and Alzheimer's disease (AD). This was a prospective, randomized, three-arm parallel-group, case-control study of 95 patients taking LEV (n=38), phenobarbital (PB) (n=28), and lamotrigine (LTG) (n=29). A 4-week dose adjustment was followed by a 12-month evaluation period. The three groups were compared to a control group (n=68) to evaluate cognitive effects of the antiepileptic drugs. We examined drug effects cross-sectionally at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months. There were no significant differences in efficacy among the three AEDs. LEV caused fewer adverse events than the other AEDs. PB produced persistent negative cognitive side effects. LEV was associated with improved cognitive performance, specifically attention level and oral fluency items. LTG had a better effect on mood. LEV had a benign neuropsychological side effect profile, making it a cognitively safe drug to use for controlling established seizures in elderly patients with Alzheimer's disease.

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