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Pediatrics. 2000 Oct;106(4):838-42.

Visual field constriction in children with epilepsy on vigabatrin treatment.

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  • 1Pediatric Neurology, Department of Pediatrics, La Sapienza University 00161┬┐Rome, Italy.


Vigabatrin is considered the drug of choice for infantile spasms and simple and complex partial epilepsy in childhood. Its mechanism of action relies on the irreversible inhibition of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) transaminase. Since June 1997 several articles have been published reporting visual field constriction in adult patients on vigabatrin therapy. Recently, 7 pediatric patients, 1 on vigabatrin monotherapy and 6 on add-on therapy with visual field constriction have been described. We have observed 30 pediatric patients with epilepsy (14 boys and 16 girls), ages ranging from 4 to 20 years (mean: 11 years and 2 months) treated with vigabatrin for infantile spasms, simple and complex partial epilepsy, who had never complained of ophthalmologic disturbances. Twenty-one patients underwent complete routine ophthalmologic examination (fundus oculi, visual acuity, intraocular pressure, and visual field tests); 9 children (<6 years old) underwent only fundus examination, because collaboration was lacking. We report on 4 children showing constriction of visual field, prevailing in nasal hemifield. In 1 child, visual abnormalities were stable even 10 months after vigabatrin discontinuation, while in another a greater improvement was observed 5 months after discontinuation. The possible mechanisms have been discussed and the cone dysfunction, connected with GABA augmentation in the outer retina, has been outlined. We suggest a possible protocol to control visual abnormalities in epileptic children.

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