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Adjunctive therapy versus alternative monotherapy in patients with partial epilepsy failing on a single drug: a multicentre, randomised, pragmatic controlled trial

Beghi, Ettore, Gatti, Giuliana, Tonini, Clara, Ben-Menachem, Elinor, Chadwick, David W, Nikanorova, Marina, Gromov, Sergei A, Smith, Philip E. M. ORCID:, Specchio, Luigi M and Perucca, Emilio 2003. Adjunctive therapy versus alternative monotherapy in patients with partial epilepsy failing on a single drug: a multicentre, randomised, pragmatic controlled trial. Epilepsy Research 57 (1) , pp. 1-13. 10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2003.09.007

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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the value of alternative monotherapy versus adjunctive therapy in partial epilepsy refractory to single antiepileptic drug (AED) therapy. DESIGN AND METHODS: In a multicentre, parallel-group, open-label study, patients with cryptogenic or symptomatic partial epilepsy not controlled after single or sequential AED monotherapies were randomised to monotherapy with an alternative AED or to adjunctive therapy with a second AED. The AED to be added/substituted and dose adjustments were determined by the physician's best judgement. Patients were followed up until withdrawal from the allocated treatment or for 12 months, whichever first. Outcome measures included proportion of patients continuing on the assigned treatment strategy, proportion of patients seizure-free after achieving the target maintenance dose, and adverse effects rates. Data were analysed by actuarial life tables, Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and Cox proportional hazard regression model. RESULTS: Of a total of 157 patients (including 94 previously exposed to only one AED), 76 were randomised to alternative monotherapy and 81 to adjunctive therapy. The two groups were balanced in clinical characteristics. The 12-month cumulative probability of remaining on the assigned treatment was 55% in patients randomised to alternative monotherapy and 65% in those randomised to adjunctive therapy (P=0.74). The 12-month probability of remaining seizure-free was 14 and 16%, respectively (P=0.74). Adverse effects were similar in the two groups. No significant differences in outcome within or between groups were identified based on etiology of epilepsy and previous AED exposure. CONCLUSIONS: Although these findings should be interpreted with caution due to the low statistical power resulting from the relatively small sample size, alternative monotherapy and adjunctive therapy were associated with similar outcomes. Further work is required to determine whether outcome could be improved through identification of specific AED combinations with synergistic activity.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0920-1211
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2022 09:39

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