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Epilepsia. 2005 Sep;46(9):1362-70.

Long-lasting antiepileptic effects of levetiracetam against epileptic seizures in the spontaneously epileptic rat (SER): differentiation of levetiracetam from conventional antiepileptic drugs.

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1
Department of Pharmacology, Hiroshima University School of Medicine, Hiroshima, Japan.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Some evidence suggests that levetiracetam (LEV) possesses antiepileptogenic characteristics. The purpose of this study was to investigate the time course of seizure protection by LEV compared with that of phenytoin (PHT), phenobarbital (PB), valproate (VPA), and carbamazepine (CBZ) in the spontaneously epileptic rat (SER). The SER is a double mutant (tm/tm, zi/zi) showing both tonic convulsions and absence-like seizures.

METHODS:

The effect of single (40, 80, and 160 mg/kg, i.p.) and 5-day (80 mg/kg/day, i.p.) administration of LEV on tonic convulsions and absence-like seizures in SERs were studied. Tonic convulsions induced by blowing air onto the animal's head at 5-min intervals for 30 min and spontaneous absence-like seizures characterized by 5- to 7-Hz spike-wave-like complexes in the cortical and hippocampal EEG were recorded for 30 min. In the single-administration study, observations for seizure activity were performed once before and 3 times (45, 75, and 135 min) after drug administration. In the 5-day administration study, seizure observation was performed 4 times for 30 min (once before and 3 times after drug administration) during the 5-day drug-administration period, and continued once a day until 8 days after the final administration. The antiepileptic effects of 5-day administration of conventional AEDs (PHT, PB, VPA, and CBZ) were examined by using similar methods.

RESULTS:

Tonic convulsions and absence-like seizures were inhibited by a single administration of LEV at 80 and 160 mg/kg, i.p., but not significantly at 40 mg/kg, i.p. When LEV was repeatedly administered at 80 mg/kg/day, i.p., for 5 days to SERs, the inhibitory effects on seizures increased with administration time. The number of tonic convulsions and absence-like seizures were significantly reduced to 39.1% and 38.4% compared with previous values, respectively, after 5-day LEV administration. Furthermore, significant inhibition of tonic convulsions was detected <or=3 days after the final administration, and significant inhibition of absence-like seizures was still observed 8 days after the final injection of LEV. This demonstrates long-lasting seizure protection by LEV after cessation of treatment. PHT, PB, VPA, and CBZ inhibited tonic convulsions more potently compared with LEV in SERs. The maximal antiseizure effects of these drugs were reached after the initial administration, with almost the same antiseizure effects observed through day 5, despite continued drug administration. Moreover, a long-lasting treatment effect was not observed with any of these drugs except for PHT and CBZ, both of which showed moderately prolonged antiseizure effects.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results show that LEV is effective in the treatment of both convulsive and absence-like seizures in SERs after single- and multiple-dose administration. Interestingly, in the 5-day administration study, it was found that the antiepileptic effects for tonic convulsions and absence-like seizures were observed both during the drug-administration period and <or=8 days after the final administration of LEV. This long-lasting effect suggests that LEV may possess an antiepileptogenic effect that it does not share with PHT, PB, VPA, and CBZ.

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