Brivaracetam add-on therapy for drug-resistant epilepsy

Bresnahan, Rebecca, Panebianco, Mariangela and Marson, Anthony G ORCID: 0000-0002-6861-8806
(2022) Brivaracetam add-on therapy for drug-resistant epilepsy. COCHRANE DATABASE OF SYSTEMATIC REVIEWS, 3 (3). CD011501-.

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<h4>Background</h4>This is an updated version of the Cochrane Review previously published in 2019. Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders. It is estimated that up to 30% of individuals with epilepsy continue to have epileptic seizures despite treatment with an antiepileptic drug. These patients are classified as drug-resistant and require treatment with a combination of multiple antiepileptic drugs. Brivaracetam is a third-generation antiepileptic drug that is a high-affinity ligand for synaptic vesicle protein 2A. In this review we investigated the use of brivaracetam as add-on therapy for epilepsy.<h4>Objectives</h4>To evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of brivaracetam when used as add-on treatment for people with drug-resistant epilepsy.<h4>Search methods</h4>For the latest update we searched the following databases on 7 September 2021: the Cochrane Register of Studies (CRS Web); MEDLINE (Ovid) 1946 to 3 September 2021. CRS Web includes randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-RCTs from PubMed, Embase,, the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), and the specialised registers of Cochrane Review Groups including Cochrane Epilepsy.<h4>Selection criteria</h4>We searched for parallel-group RCTs that recruited people of any age with drug-resistant epilepsy. We accepted studies with any level of blinding (double-blind, single-blind, or unblinded).<h4>Data collection and analysis</h4>In accordance with standard Cochrane methodological procedures, two review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion before evaluating trial quality and extracting relevant data. The primary outcome to be assessed was 50% or greater reduction in seizure frequency. Secondary outcomes were: seizure freedom, treatment withdrawal for any reason, treatment withdrawal due to adverse events, the proportion of participants who experienced any adverse events, and drug interactions. We used an intention-to-treat population for all primary analyses, and presented results as risk ratios (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).<h4>Main results</h4>We did not identify any new studies for this update, therefore the results and conclusions of the review are unchanged. The previous review included six studies involving a total of 2411 participants. Only one study included participants with both focal and generalised onset seizures; the other five trials included participants with focal onset seizures only. Study participants were aged 16 to 80 years. Treatment periods ranged from 7 to 16 weeks. We judged two studies to have low risk of bias and four to have unclear risk of bias. Details on the method used for allocation concealment and how blinding was maintained were insufficient in one study each. One study did not report all outcomes prespecified in the trial protocol, and there were discrepancies in reporting in a further study. Participants receiving brivaracetam add-on were more likely to experience a 50% or greater reduction in seizure frequency than those receiving placebo (RR 1.81, 95% CI 1.53 to 2.14; 6 studies; moderate-certainty evidence). Participants receiving brivaracetam were more likely to attain seizure freedom; however, the evidence is of low certainty (RR 5.89, 95% CI 2.30 to 15.13; 6 studies). The incidence of treatment withdrawal for any reason was slightly greater for participants receiving brivaracetam compared to those receiving placebo (RR 1.27, 95% CI 0.94 to 1.74; 6 studies; low-certainty evidence). The risk of participants experiencing one or more adverse events did not differ significantly following treatment with brivaracetam compared to placebo (RR 1.08, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.17; 5 studies; moderate-certainty evidence). However, participants receiving brivaracetam did appear to be more likely to withdraw from treatment due to adverse events compared with those receiving placebo (RR 1.54, 95% CI 1.02 to 2.33; 6 studies; low-certainty evidence).<h4>Authors' conclusions</h4>When used as add-on therapy for individuals with drug-resistant epilepsy, brivaracetam may be effective in reducing seizure frequency and may aid patients in achieving seizure freedom. However, add-on brivaracetam is probably associated with a greater proportion of treatment withdrawals due to adverse events compared with placebo. It is important to note that only one of the eligible studies included participants with generalised epilepsy. None of the included studies involved participants under the age of 16, and all studies were of short duration. Consequently, the findings of this review are mainly applicable to adult patients with drug-resistant focal epilepsy. Future research should focus on investigating the tolerability and efficacy of brivaracetam during longer-term follow-up, as well as assess the efficacy and tolerability of add-on brivaracetam in managing other types of seizures and in other age groups.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anticonvulsants [adverse effects] [*therapeutic use], Drug Interactions, Drug Resistant Epilepsy [*drug therapy], Drug Therapy, Combination, Humans, Patient Dropouts [statistics numerical data], Pyrrolidinones [adverse effects] [*therapeutic use], Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Systems, Molecular and Integrative Biology
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 26 May 2022 09:13
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2023 02:30
DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD011501.pub3
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