Lege Artis Medicinae



JULY 14, 2007

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2007;17(06-07)

[Over the last decades, drug therapy for epilepsy has changed substantially, which generated new expectations. The first-line therapy of epilepsies is pharmacological treatment, which is effective in 60 to 70% of patients. Despite this favourable result, even today's drug therapy cannot yet be considered optimal. Prior to 1990, only six major antiepileptics were available for the clinicians, while since then more than ten new drugs have been introduced into the market. The older drugs have the advantage of long-term experience, known efficacy, and lower cost. These first generation drugs, while effective in patients with newly diagnosed epilepsy, share some unfavourable properties. They do not control many patients adequately, while with their long-term use chronic side effects develop. The purpose of this paper is to summarize recent data on the efficacy, safety, and administration of the older and new antiepileptic drugs. The main factors to consider when choosing a drug for treatment include syndromatological classification of the disease, efficacy and tolerability of the drug, and individual patient considerations. Of the first generation antiepileptics, carbamapezine, valproate, ethosuximide, and to some extent the clobazam and clonazepam are still widely used (benzodiazepines only as adjunctive therapy). The use of phenobarbitals, primidone, phenytoin, and sulthiam has diminished because of their side effects and inadequate efficacy. New antiepileptics are more efficient primarily in the therapy of West syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and in idiopathic generalized epilepsies. The pharmacokinetic properties of gabapentin, lamotrigine, levetiracetam, and oxcarbazepine are favourable, and their clinical use is safe. The use of felbamate, vigabatrin, and topiramate requires close attention because of their side effects.]



Further articles in this publication

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[Diuretics are an integral part of the management of chronic heart failure. Although there are no large, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicentric studies available to show that loop- and thiazid diuretics improve survival, the efficacy of these drugs in relieving heart failure symptoms and fluid retention is indisputable. The third class of diuretics used in heart failure is aldosterone antagonists, whose beneficial effects on mortality and morbidity were demonstrated in the RALES and EPHESUS trials. In this paper, the effects and side effects of the various diuretics, as well as the indications and recommendations on their use are reviewed. New options in diuretic treatment, including adenosine receptor blockers, vasopressin antagonists, atrial natriuretic peptide analogues and ultrafiltration are also presented.]

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[The rennin-angiotensin system plays a major role in cardiovascular diseases. In the past decade, extensive research investigated the possible clinical benefit of the use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors in various clinical conditions. Their benefits have been clearly demonstrated in many cardiovascular conditions and agreement as to their potential usefulness has been established in chronic heart failure, asymptomatic left ventricular dysfunction, acute myocardial infarction and hypertension, and in the primary prevention in patients with high risk for cardiovascular events. Numerous randomised clinical trials over the past two decades established their efficacy in reducing adverse outcomes (mortality, hospitalitazion, and physical limitation) in patients with heart failure and left ventricular systolic dysfunction. Based on these results, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors are indicated in all patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction regardless of etiology, in the absence of intolerance or a contraindication. Despite the recent improvements in the treatment of heart failure, mortality remains high, with approximately 50% patients dead at five years. Although angiotensinconverting enzyme inhibitors decrease mortality, they incompletely suppress angiotenzin-2 when used chronically. Since angiotensin receptor blockers block the biologic effects of angiotenzin-2 more completely than angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, they may be beneficial in the treatment of heart failure. In comparison trials, angiotensin receptor blockers were found to have no benefit over angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor therapy. Thus, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors should remain first-line treatment for heart failure. However, in case of intolerance, angiotensin receptor blocker therapy is a reasonable substitute and provides excellent tolerability.]

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[The beneficial effects of treatment with betablockers in patients with chronic heart failure have been demonstrated in several large, prospective, randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trials. In large trials with mortality as the endpoint, the long-term use of bisoprolol, carvedilol, nevibolol and metoprolol succinate have been associated with a reduction in total mortality, cardiovascular mortality, sudden cardiac death and death due to progression of heart failure in patients of functional classes II-IV. These favorable clinical experiences warrant a recommendation that beta-blockers should be used in all haemodynamically stable heart failure patients with reduced left ventricular systolic function who are on standard treatment, unless contraindicated. In this review, the most important data of clinical trials and practical considerations of therapy with beta-blockers in heart failure are summarized.]

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[The beneficial effects of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors on biochemical and vascular markers have been proven by many experimental studies. Reduction of the angiotensin-II level has a positive effect on oxidative stress, lipid peroxidation, apoptosis, inflammatory and prothrombotic processes. Two large multicentric trials, EUROPA and HOPE, showed that perindopril and ramipril significantly reduce mortality and the risk of both fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events in patients with atherosclerosis, thereby making them the base drugs of secondary prevention of coronary artery disease.]

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[Hydrotherapy, of Curing with Water Following the Path of Priessnitz and Kneipp]


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Related contents

Clinical Neuroscience

[Zonisamide: one of the first-line antiepileptic drugs in focal epilepsy ]


[Chronic administration of antiepileptic drugs without history of unprovoked epileptic seizures are not recommended for epilepsy prophylaxis. Conversely, if the patient suffered the first unprovoked seizure, then the presence of epileptiform discharges on the EEG, focal neurological signs, and the presence of epileptogenic lesion on the MRI are risk factors for a second seizure (such as for the development of epilepsy). Without these risk factors, the chance of a second seizure is about 25-30%, while the presence of these risk factors (for example signs of previous stroke, neurotrauma, or encephalitis on the MRI) can predict >70% seizure recurrence. Thus the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) re-defined the term ’epilepsy’ which can be diagnosed even after the first seizure, if the risk of seizure recurrence is high. According to this definition, we can start antiepileptic drug therapy after a single unprovoked seizure. There are four antiepileptic drugs which has the highest evidence (level „A”) as first-line initial monotherapy for treating newly diagnosed epilepsy. These are: carbamazepine, phenytoin, levetiracetam, and zonisamide (ZNS). The present review focuses on the ZNS. Beacuse ZNS can be administrated once a day, it is an optimal drug for maintaining patient’s compliance and for those patients who have a high risk for developing a non-compliance (for example teenagers and young adults). Due to the low interaction potential, ZNS treatment is safe and effective in treating epilepsy of elderly people. ZNS is an ideal drug in epilepsy accompanied by obesity, because ZNS has a weight loss effect, especially in obese patients.]

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

EEG-based connectivity in patients with partial seizures with and without generalization

DÖMÖTÖR Johanna, CLEMENS Béla, EMRI Miklós, PUSKÁS Szilvia, FEKETE István

Objective - to investigate the neurophysiological basis of secondary generalization of partial epileptic seizures. Patients and methods - inter-ictal, resting-state EEG functional connectivity (EEGfC) was evaluated and compared: patients with exclusively simple partial seizures (sp group) were compared to patients with simple partial and secondary generalized seizures (spsg group); patients with exclusively complex partial seizures (cp group) were compared to patients with cp and secondary generalized seizures (cpsg group); the collapsed sp+cp group (spcp) was compared to those who had exclusively secondary generalized seizures (sg group). EEGfC was computed from 21-channel waking EEG. 3 minutes of waking EEG background activity was analyzed by the LORETA Source Correlation (LSC) software. Current source density time series were computed for 23 pre-defined cortical regions (ROI) in each hemisphere, for the 1-25 Hz very narrow bands (1 Hz bandwidth). Thereafter Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated between all pairs of ROI time series in the same hemisphere. Z-scored correlation coefficients were compared at the group level (t-tests and correction for multiple comparisons by local false discovery rate, FDR). Results - Statistically significant (corrected p<0.05) EEGfC differences emerged at specific frequencies (spsg > sg; cpsg > cp), and at many frequencies (sg > spcp). The findings indicated increased coupling between motor cortices and several non-motor areas in patients with partial and sg seizures as compared to patients with partial seizures and no sg seizures. Further findings suggested increased coupling between medial parietal-occipital areas (structural core of the cortex) and lateral hemispheric areas. Conclusion - increased inter-ictal EEGfC is associated with habitual occurrence of secondary generalized seizures.

Clinical Neuroscience

Relationship between Status Epilepticus Severity Score and etiology in adult NCSE patients

GENC Fatma, ERDAL Abidin, AKCA Gizem, KARACAY Ertan, GÖKSU Özaydın Eylem, KUTLU Gülnihal, GÖMCELI Bicer Yasemin

Purpose - Nonconvulsive status epilepticus (NCSE) is a heterogeneous, severe neurological disorder of different etiologies. In this study, the outcomes of NCSE episodes was assessed in a large series of adult patients. Our objective was to evaluate relationship between Status Epilepticus Severity Score (STESS) and etiology and the role of etiological factors on predicting the outcomes. Method - In this retrospective study, the medical records of 95 patients over 18 years of age who were diagnosed with NCSE between June 2011 and December 2015 were reviewed. Their treatment and follow-up for NCSE was performed at the Epilepsy Unit in Department of Neurology, Antalya Research and Training Hospital. Etiological factors thought to be responsible for NCSE episodes as well as the prognostic data were retrieved. The etiological factors were classified into three groups as those with a known history of epilepsy (Group 1), primary neurological disorder (Group 2), or systemic/unknown etiology (Group 3). STESS was retrospectively applied to patients. Results - There were 95 participants, 59 of whom were female. Group 1, Group 2, and Group 3 consisted of 11 (7 female), 54 (33 female), and 30 (19 female) patients, respectively. Of the 18 total deaths, 12 occurred in Group 2, and 6 in Group 3. The negative predictive value for a STESS score of ≤ 2 was 93.88% (+LR 2.05 95% CI: 1.44-2.9 and -LR 0.3 95% CI 0.10-0.84 ) in the overall study group. While the corresponding values for Group 1 (patients with epilepsy), Group 2 (patients with primary neurological disorder), and group 3 (patients with systemic or unknown etiology) were 100%, 92.59% (+LR 2.06 95%CI: 1.32-3.21 and -LR 0.28 95% CI 0.08-1.02 ) 83.33% (+LR 1.14 95%CI: 0.59-2.9 and -LR 0.80 95% CI 0.23-2.73). Conclusions - This study included the one of the largest patients series ever reported in whom STESS, a clinical scoring system proposed for use in patients with status epilepticus, has been implemented. Although STESS appeared to be quite useful for predicting a favorable outcome in NCSE patients with epilepsy and primary neurological disorders, its predictive value in patients with systemic or unknown etiology was lower. Further prospective studies including larger NCSE samples are warranted.

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. ]