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Neurology. 1993 Jul;43(7):1351-5.

Characterization of seizures associated with biotinidase deficiency.

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Department of Human Genetics, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond 23298.


Biotinidase deficiency is an autosomal recessively inherited disorder that is often characterized by neurologic abnormalities. We reviewed the clinical features of 78 symptomatic children, 11 new patients and 67 previously reported cases, to determine the frequency, type, age at onset, and the responsiveness of seizures to antiepileptic drugs and biotin therapy. Forty-three of the 78 (55%) symptomatic children had seizures, and seizures were the presenting symptom in 38% of the enzyme-deficient patients and 70% of those who had had seizures at some time. EEGs were available for 21 of these children. Sixteen were abnormal. The initially abnormal EEGs in eight of 12 infants became normal or improved with biotin therapy, whereas four continued to be abnormal. In 21 (49%) patients, the seizures were not well controlled with antiepileptic drugs. Biotin therapy stopped the seizures within 24 hours in 12 of 16 (75%) of those whose seizures were uncontrolled by anticonvulsants (five children died prior to diagnosis). Although the metabolic and cutaneous abnormalities were corrected in the remaining four children, they continued to have neurologic abnormalities. Biotinidase deficiency and a trial of biotin (5 to 10 mg) should be considered in infants less than 1 year of age with poorly controlled seizures, and biotinidase deficiency should be included in the differential diagnosis of an infant or child with unexplained seizures.

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