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Epilepsy Res. 1996 Nov;25(3):225-30.

Photosensitive epilepsy: a model to study the effects of antiepileptic drugs. Evaluation of the piracetam analogue, levetiracetam.

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  • 1Instituut voor Epilepsiebestrijding, Heemstede, The Netherlands.


The experimental antiepileptic drug, levetiracetam (UCB L059), a piracetam analogue has been investigated in photosensitive patients in the "photosensitivity model", an early phase II study. A total of 12 patients (10 females, 2 males) with a mean age of 21.5 years (range 13-38) were investigated during a 3 day period in 3 centres (France, The Netherlands, Germany), using the same standardised method. The subjects were either treated with a single oral dose of 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg or 1,000 mg. In addition, 4 patients took 250 mg b.i.d. for 3-5 days, after which they were re-examined. In 9 of 12 photosensitive patients (75%) a clear suppression (3 patients) or abolishment (6 patients) of IPS evoked photoparoxysmal EEG responses was found. This effect appeared to be dose-dependent, the higher the dose the greater the effect; complete abolishment was only seen at dosages of 750 mg and 1,000 mg, occurring at peak plasma levels and lasting between 6 and 30 h. There was no indication of pharmacokinetic interaction with concomitant antiepileptic drugs such as valproic acid, ethosuximide or phenobarbitone. No serious side-effects were seen and some patients reported enhancement of their mood. Two patients with myoclonic jerks noticed a clear reduction of their myoclonus, although this was not one of the objectives of the study. In conclusion, levetiracetam showed a clear antiepileptic effect in the photosensitivity model.

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