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Epilepsia. 2007 Sep;48(9):1703-1707. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2007.01186.x. Epub 2007 Jul 25.

Current treatment of myoclonic astatic epilepsy: clinical experience at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

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Division of Neurology, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.



Myoclonic astatic epilepsy (MAE) is a generalized epilepsy of early childhood. Little is known about the use of newer antiepileptic treatments (AET) in MAE. The purpose of this study was to describe the characteristics, treatment, and outcome of a contemporary MAE cohort exposed to the new generation AET.


Charts of subjects with MAE treated between 1998 and 2005 were reviewed.


Twenty-three subjects (19 boys), with a median (range) follow-up of 38 (2- 86) months were identified. Thirty-nine percent had a family history of epilepsy, and 39% had family history of febrile seizures. Age at seizure onset was a median of 36 (12-24) months. Initial EEG was normal in 30%. When seizures ceased, EEG background and epileptiform abnormalities persisted in 17 and 58%, respectively. On average, each subject was exposed to five AET. The most frequently used AET was valproate (83%). Seizure freedom occurred spontaneously in three subjects, with ethosuximide and levetiracetam in one each, valproate and lamotrigine in two each, topiramate in three and the ketogenic diet (KD) in five subjects. By 36 months after seizure onset, 67% achieved seizure freedom. At the last visit, 43% were developmentally normal, 52% had mild, and 5% had moderate cognitive disabilities. Time to seizure freedom did not correlate with cognitive outcome.


The new generation of AET may offer significant benefit to children with MAE. The KD was the most effective AET in this series, and perhaps should be considered earlier in treatment.

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