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Seizure. 2017 Oct;51:145-156. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2017.08.007. Epub 2017 Aug 20.

Anti epileptic drug trials for patients with drug resistant idiopathic generalised epilepsy: A meta-analysis.

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Department of Neurology, Galway University Hospital, Newcastle Road, Galway, Ireland. Electronic address:
RCSI School of Nursing & Midwifery, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, 123 St. Stephens Green, Dublin, Ireland. Electronic address:
RCSI School of Nursing & Midwifery, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, 123 St. Stephens Green, Dublin, Ireland.



Determine the impact of anti-epileptic drugs (AED) for drug resistant patients with idiopathic generalised epilepsy.


A systematic search of Medline, Cumulative Index to Nursing an Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Cochrane Epilepsy Group Central Specialised Register, Cochrane Central Register of controlled Trials (CENTRAL), Embase and Lenus was performed. Nine randomised controlled trials were included. All trials compared antiepileptic drugs to placebo. Outcome measures assessed were 50% or greater reduction in seizure, seizure freedom and adverse events.


Seven trials report a 50% or greater reduction in seizure frequency. This was statistically significant (p=<0.00001) with a narrow confidence interval implying that the overall this meta-analysis has reasonable power to detect an effect. It demonstrated a significant statistical difference of seizure freedom occurring in the drug treatment group compared to placebo. Adverse events were identified with each drug and are reported. There were however methodological issues with the trials included. Quality appraisal was undertaken using the risk of bias assessment from Rev Man 5.3 tool for all randomised controlled trials retrieved.


This systematic review demonstrated efficacy of adjunctive anti-epileptic drugs with regard to 50% reduction and seizure freedom. Adverse events are identified in all of the studies in the drug treatment groups but are consistent with previous studies of these drugs. Additional adequately powered studies with long term follow up needs to be conducted to unequivocally establish the long term efficacy and tolerability of anti-epileptic drug's for patients with drug resistant idiopathic generalised epilepsy.


Drug/drugs; Idiopathic generalised epilepsy; Myoclonic epilepsy; Primary generalised epilepsy; Randomised controlled trial; Tonic clonic seizure

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