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Epilepsia. 2008 Apr;49(4):663-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2007.01523.x. Epub 2008 Feb 5.

Effects of levetiracetam on EEG abnormalities in juvenile myoclonic epilepsy.

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Division of Neurology, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, Roma, Italy.



A multicenter, prospective, long-term, open-label study to evaluate the effects of levetiracetam on electroencephalogram (EEG) abnormalities and photoparoxysmal response (PPR) of patients affected by juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME).


Forty-eight patients with newly diagnosed JME (10) or resistant/intolerant (38) to previous antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) were enrolled. After an 8-week baseline period, levetiracetam was titrated in 2 weeks to 500 mg b.i.d. and then increased to up to 3,000 mg/day. Efficacy parameters were based on the comparison and analysis of EEG interictal abnormalities classified as spikes-and-waves, polyspikes-and-waves, and presence of PPR. Secondary end point was evaluation of EEG and PPR changes as predictive factors of 12-month seizure freedom.


Overall, mean dose of levetiracetam was 2,208 mg/day. Mean study period was 19.3 +/- 11.5 months (range 0.3-38). During the baseline period, interictal EEG abnormalities were detected in 44/48 patients (91.6%) and PPR was determined in 17/48 (35.4%) of patients. After levetiracetam treatment, 27/48 (56.2%) of patients compared to 4/48 (8.3%) in the baseline period (p < 0.0001) had a normal EEG. Thirteen of 17 (76.4%) (p < 0.0003) patients showed suppression of PPR. Cumulative probability of days with myoclonia (DWM) 12-month remission was significantly higher (p < 0.05) in patients with a normal (normalized) EEG after levetiracetam treatment compared to those with an unchanged EEG.


Levetiracetam appeared to be effective in decreasing epileptiform EEG abnormalities, and suppressing the PPR in JME patients. This effect, along with a good efficacy and tolerability profile in this population further supports a first-line role for levetiracetam in the treatment of JME.

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