Clinical Neuroscience

[The role of zonisamide in the treatment of women with epilepsy]


NOVEMBER 30, 2016

Clinical Neuroscience - 2016;69(11-12)


[The antiepileptic drugs can effect fertility, development of gynecological diseases and occurence of sexual problems. They can cause a number of “cosmetic” problem and also influence the selection of safe contraceptive method. Many antiepileptic drugs can cause congenital malformations or affect the new-born child’s psychomotor and cognitive development, therefore during pregnancy should be treated with extreme caution in women with epilepsy. Most types of epilepsies accompany the patient through their whole life. Women spend almost the third of their lives after menopause and - due to the formation of associated diseases as well - this period is also special. According to the 2013 recommendation of International League Epilepsy (ILAE), zonisamide is one of the first-line antiepileptic drugs in focal epilepsy. In my review I discuss women’s epilepsy in the viewpoint of the application of zonisamid. ]



Further articles in this publication

Clinical Neuroscience

How to minimize the risk for headache? A lumbar puncture practice questionnaire study

JONATAN Salzer, RAJDA Cecilia, SUNDSTRÖM Peter, MATTIAS Vågberg, VÉCSEI László, ANDERS Svenningsson

Background - To lower the risk for post lumbar puncture (LP) headache the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) recommended using small bore atraumatic needles together with stylet reinsertion in a report from 2005. It is unclear whether these recommendations are followed or not. Objectives - To investigate the diagnostic LP preferences with respect to the AAN guidelines among neurologists by use of a short online questionnaire, and to review previously published literature on the subject. Results - A total of 284 respondents who performed diagnostic LPs completed the questionnaire. Almost half (41%) answered that they always use atraumatic needles. The most common reason (73%) for not using atraumatic needles was that these were not available. Less than half of the respondents who performed LPs had knowledge about the AAN guidelines for diagnostic LPs, and 48-76% agreed with the different recommendations therein. Five previously (1998-2015) published studies investigating LP practice among neurologists were identified. The reported frequency of atraumatic needle use (always/routinely) varied between 2 and 16%. Discussion - Atraumatic needle use was more common in this study compared with previous publications. There is still skepticism regarding some of the AAN recommendations, and needle availability appears to be the most important factor preventing atraumatic needle use. To increase the use of atraumatic needles we may perform additional studies investigating their potential benefits, and arrange training sessions for neurologists to increase their awareness and level of comfort with the atraumatic LP technique.

Clinical Neuroscience

Unilateral thalamic infarction causing downward gaze palsy in a patient with uncorrected tetralogy of fallot: a case report


Introduction - Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) is the most common form of cyanotic congenital heart disease (CHD). Adults with surgically uncorrected forms of this condition are extremely rare, since operation is recommended in childhood to prevent cyanosis. Cyanotic CHD increases the risk of thromboembolic events. An endothelial dysfunction caused by chronic hypoxia and shear stress due to rheological alterations with a platelet dysfunction appear to be the explanation behind this finding. Paramedian thalamic infarction causing vertical gaze palsy without midbrain involvement is an infrequent finding. We report here a rare case of a patient with untreated TOF, who suffered a left-sided unilateral thalamic infarction presenting as downward gaze palsy and diplopia. Case presentation - A 44-year-old women complained of sudden onset diplopia and vertigo. Neurological examination revealed a downward gaze palsy with other symptoms related to a vertebrobasilar territory circulatory disturbance. The MRI scan revealed an acute infarction, 8 mm in diameter in the left medial thalamic region without midbrain involvement. Discussion - Adults with uncorrected forms of TOF are extremely uncommon, and descriptions of stroke in these patients are therefore rarities. We set out to give a concise survey of the literature regarding TOF patients with stroke. Conclusion - We present a rare case of unilateral thalamic infarction causing downward gaze palsy in an adult patient with uncorrected TOF. Cyanotic CHD is regarded as one of the risk factors of stroke. Besides other pathologic conditions, ischaemic stroke at an early age should raise the suspicion of a cardioembolic origin and, in rare cases, might result from cyanotic CHD.

Clinical Neuroscience

[Recommendation for treatment options in advanced Parkinson's disease]

ASCHERMANN Zsuzsanna, DIBÓ György, KLIVÉNYI Péter, KOVÁCS Norbert, KOVÁCS Tibor, TAKÁTS Annamária, GERTRÚD Tamás, VARANNAI Lajos

[The treatment of advanced Parkinson’s disease is challenging for both physicians and caregivers. The device-aided therapies need expertise and dedicated hospital centers. In this summary we have concluded the available data and recommendation for the treatment options in advanced Parkinson’s disease and adopt them to the daily care in Hungary. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

Vitreous humor diffusion measurements from diffusionweighted imaging in idiopathic intracranial hypertension

CAGLI Bekir, TUNCEL Alpaslan Sedat, YILMAZ Erdem, TEKATAS Aslan, ERMIS Veli

Background - Idiopathic intracranial hypertension is a disease with uncertain etiology. It is not caused by an intracranial mass lesion or hydrocephalus and is characterized by abnormal elevation of intracranial pressure and normal composition of the cerebrospinal fluid. The orbita and intracranial area are closely related anatomically. Elevated intracranial pressure can be transmitted to the orbita through the cerebrospinal fluid around the optic nerve sheath changes at the vitreous humor on diffusion-weighted imaging have not been systemically studied in idiopathic intracranial hypertension. Purpose - The purpose of this study was to investigate diffusion changes in the vitreous humor in patients with intracranial hypertension. Methods - In this retrospective study, 25 patients with papilledema and who had been definitively diagnosed with idiopathic intracranial hypertension and 20 control participants were evaluated. Control subjects and patients were scanned with a 1.5 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging. Apparent diffusion coefficient maps were obtained from diffusion-weighted imaging with a b value of 1000 s/mm2 and apparent diffusion coefficient values were automatically calculated. These images were obtained by a radiologist who was blinded to the details of the study for center of each vitreous humor and the body of lateral ventricle. The mean apparent diffusion coefficient values of each vitreous humor and the body of the lateral ventricle were calculated for each group (control group and patients) and quantitative comparisons were performed. Results - There were no statistically significant differences in mean apparent diffusion coefficient values of the right vitreous humor, left vitreous humor and the body of the lateral ventricle between the patients with idiopathic intracranial hypertension and the control group (p=0.766, p=0.864, p=0.576, respectively). Discussion - Vitreous humor is a closed system and has no direct relationship with the cerebrospinal fluid or cerebral tissue and although morphological changes occur in the orbital structures, including the optic disk and optic nerve in idiopathic intracranial hypertension, the indirect effects of these changes on the vitreous humor may be too subtle to measure. Conclusion - We did not find a significant difference in the mean apparent diffusion coefficient value of the vitreous humor between the patients with idiopathic intracranial hypertension and the control group. However, future studies will be necessary to determine if changes in the vitreous humor can be used to diagnose intracranial hypertension.

Clinical Neuroscience

Could red cell distribution width and mean platelet volume be a predictor for lumbar disc hernias?


Background - Lumbar disc herniation (LDH) causes major disabilities worldwide. Several studies in the literature had reported the correlation between radiculopathy and inflammatory markers. Mean platelet volume (MPV), red cell distribution width (RDW) and neutrophil to lymphocyte (N/L) ratio are parameters of hemogram which have been found to be associated with inflammatory conditions. Purpose - Since inflammation has an important role in lumbar disc hernias, and RDW, MPV and N/L ratio are also known to be in correlation with inflammation, we have investigated these parameters of the patients with lumbar disc hernias and compared them with the results of the healthy subjects. Methods - Our study group was composed of patients with lumbar disc hernia, whereas the control group was consisted of healthy volunteers whom visited our outpatient clinics for a routine check-up. Patient characteristics and hemogram parameters of the study cohort were obtained from computerized database system of our institution. SPSS software (SPSS 15.0 for Windows, Chicago, IL, USA) was used for the analysis. Results - There was no significant difference between study and control groups in terms of WBC, neutrophil count, lymphocyte count, neu\lym ratio, Hb, Htc, MCV, and PLT levels (all p>0.05). RDW was significantly increased in study group [15.6 (12.3-22.5)] when compared to control group [14.5(11.9-16.3)] (p=0.004). And MPV in the study group [9.25 (6.38-14.5)] was also significantly increased in comparison to the control subjects [8.8 (6-10.1)] (p=0.013). Discussion - In this retrospective study, we found that, RDW and MPV values in hemograms were increased in patients with lumbar disc herniation when compared to the control group. Conclusions - We suggest that, elevated RDW and MPV may help physicians in decision taking to order radiological imagings in patients with symptoms which can be associated with possible LDH diagnosis. However, for the sake of precision, prospective studies with larger populations are needed.

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Clinical Neuroscience

Management of bone metabolism in epilepsy

UÇAN TOKUÇ Ezgi Firdevs , FATMA Genç, ABIDIN Erdal, YASEMIN Biçer Gömceli

Many systemic problems arise due to the side effects of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) used in epilepsy patients. Among these adverse effects are low bone mineral density and increased fracture risk due to long-term AED use. Although various studies have supported this association with increased risk in recent years, the length of this process has not been precisely defined and there is no clear consensus on bone density scanning, intervals of screening, and the subject of calcium and vitamin D supplementation. In this study, in accordance with the most current recommendations, our applications and data, including the detection of possible bone mineralization disorders, treatment methods, and recommendations to prevent bone mineralization disorders, were evaluated in epilepsy patients who were followed up at our outpatient clinic. It was aimed to draw attention to the significance of management of bone metabolism carried out with appropriate protocols. Epilepsy patients were followed up at the Antalya Training and Research Hospital Department of Neurology, Epilepsy Outpatient Clinic who were at high risk for osteoporosis (use of valproic acid [VPA] and enzyme-inducing drugs, using any AED for over 5 years, and postmenopausal women) and were evaluated using a screening protocol. According to this protocol, a total of 190 patients suspected of osteoporosis risk were retrospectively evaluated. Four patients were excluded from the study due to secondary osteoporosis. Of the 186 patients who were included in the study, 97 (52.2%) were women and 89 (47.8%) were men. Prevalence of low bone mineral density (BMD) was 42%, in which osteoporosis was detected in 11.8% and osteopenia in 30.6% of the patients. Osteoporosis rate was higher at the young age group (18-45) and this difference was statistically significant (p=0.018). There was no significant difference between male and female sexes according to osteoporosis and osteopenia rates. Patients receiving polytherapy had higher osteoporosis rate and lower BMD compared to patients receiving monotherapy. Comparison of separate drug groups according to osteoporosis rate revealed that osteoporosis rate was highest in patient groups using VPA+ carbamazepine (CBZ) (29.4%) and VPA polytherapy (19.4%). Total of osteopenia and osteoporosis, or low BMD, was highest in VPA polytherapy (VPA+ non-enzyme-inducing AED [NEID]) and CBZ polytherapy (CBZ+NEID) groups, with rates of 58.3% and 55.1%, respectively. In addition, there was no significant difference between drug groups according to bone metabolism markers, vitamin D levels, and osteopenia-osteoporosis rates. Assuming bone health will be affected at an early age in epilepsy patients, providing lifestyle and diet recommendations, avoiding polytherapy including VPA and CBZ when possible, and evaluating bone metabolism at regular intervals are actions that should be applied in routine practice.

Clinical Neuroscience

Effects of valproate, carbamazepine and levetiracetam on Tp-e interval, Tp-e/QT and Tp-e/QTc ratio


Aim - To evaluate P-wave dispersion before and after antiepileptic drug (AED) treatment as well as to investigate the risk of ventricular repolarization using the Tpeak-Tend (Tp-e) interval and Tp-e/QT ratio in patients with epileptic disorder. Methods - A total of 63 patients receiving AED therapy and 35 healthy adults were included. ECG recordings were obtained before and 3 months after anti-epileptic treatment among patients with epilepsy. For both groups, Tp-e and Tp-e/QT ratio were measured using a 12-lead ECG device. Results - Tp-e interval, Tpe/QT and Tp-e/QTc ratios were found to be higher in the patient group than in the control group (p<0.05, for all), while QTmax ratio was significantly lower in the patient group. After 3 months of AED therapy, significant increases in QT max, QTc max, QTcd, Tp-e, Tp-e/QT, and Tp-e/QTc were found among the patients (p<0.05). When the arrhythmic effects of the drugs before and after treatment were compared, especially in the valproic acid group, there were significant increases in Tp-e interval, Tp-e/QT and Tp-e/QTc values after three months of treatment (p<0.05). Carbamazepine and levetiracetam groups were not statistically significant in terms of pre- and post-treatment values. Conclusions - It was concluded that an arrhythmogenic environment may be associated with the disease, and patients who received AED monotherapy may need to be followed up more closely for arrhythmia.

Clinical Neuroscience

[Personalised epilepsy treatment]


[Epilepsy is one of the most common chronic neurological disease in childhood. Patients with epilepsy – even with so-called benign epilepsy – need medication for years. During this time, children go through a very big change, not only gaining weight and height, but also changing hormonal and metabolic processes. Maturation processes in different brain areas also take place at different rates depending on age. All of these should be considered when preparing a therapeutic plan. In everyday practice after the diagnosis of epilepsy, the applied drug is most often selected based on the shape and type of seizure. However, a number of other factors need to be considered when designing a therapeutic strategy: 1. efficacy (form of epilepsy, type of seizure), 2. age, gender, 3. pharmacological properties of the drug, 4. adverse drug reaction profile, 5. lifestyle (community), figure (skinny, corpulent, obese), 6. other comorbidities (nutrition, behavioral and learning problems, circulatory disorders, kidney or liver disease), 7. expected interactions with other drugs already used, 8. genetics, 9. other aspects (drug registration and prescription rules). The purpose of this article is to help to decide which antiepileptic drugs are expected to have the least side effects in a particular child with different comorbidities and which medications should be avoided if possible.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Epilepsy in coronavirus pandemic]


[We aim to review the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on epilepsy and epilepsy-care. While the virus has no specific link with epilepsy, it may affect the nervous system both directly and indirectly, leading to seizures in several ways. The hyper-coagulable state occurring with the infection may cause strokes leading to seizures. The infection may first manifest in the form of disturbances of consciousness and behaviour, seizures, and even status epilepticus. The interactions of antiviral/antiepileptic drugs need to be taken into account during treatment. The hypercoagulable state induced by COVID-2 infection may cause stroke, which leads to seizures. The infection can occur also as an impaired consciousness of non-epileptic origin. Interactions of antiviral/antiepileptic drugs have also to be taken into account. The pandemic itself as well as quarantines and social distancing may cause anxiety and insomnia, challenge continuous antiepileptic supply; each one carrying the risk of seizing. Young epilepsy patients with learning disabilities and mental health issues are most vulnerable, justifying their hyper-protection. The danger of infection has highlighted the role of telemedicine. Internet-based video communication may ensure full care for chro­nic patients. Those methods favour bes­­ted patients with higher education. Epilepsy does not increase directly the risk of infection, but its comorbidities may worsen the course of the disease. Brain lesions and hypoxia, stress, insomnia and fever joining the infection increase seizure susceptibility. Because the danger of infection ma­de telemedicine an essential tool of pa­tient care, education and better computer supply for those in need is crucial. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Decisional collisions between evidence and experience based medicine in care of people with epilepsy]


[Background – Based on the literature and his long-term clinical practice the author stresses the main collisions of evidence and experience based medicine in the care of people with epilepsy. Purpose – To see, what are the professional decisions of high responsibility in the epilepsy-care, in whose the relevant clinical research is still lacking or does not give a satisfactory basis. Methods – Following the structure of the Hungarian Guideline the author points the critical situations and decisions. He explains also the causes of the dilemmas: the lack or uncertainty of evidences or the difficulty of scientific investigation of the situation. Results – There are some priorities of experience based medicine in the following areas: definition of epilepsy, classification of seizures, etiology – including genetic background –, role of precipitating and provoking factors. These are able to influence the complex diagnosis. In the pharmacotherapy the choice of the first drug and the optimal algorithm as well as the tasks during the care are also depends on personal experiences sometimes contradictory to the official recommendations. Same can occur in the choice of the non-pharmacological treatments and rehabilitation. Discussion and conclusion – Personal professional experiences (and interests of patients) must be obligatory accessories of evidence based attitude, but for achieving the optimal results, in some situations they replace the official recommendations. Therefore it is very important that the problematic patients do meet experts having necessary experiences and also professional responsibility to help in these decisions. ]