Shoemaker MT,Rotenberg JS.
J Child Neurol. 2007 ;22(1):95-8.
Department of Neonatology, Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland Seizures are a common occurrence in the neonatal intensive care unit, especially among low-birth-weight infants. The efficacy and safety of standard anticonvulsants have not been evaluated extensively in the neonate. In addition, there is concern for the adverse effects of phenobarbital on long-term development. Levetiracetam has been a commonly prescribed oral anticonvulsant for the use of adjunctive therapy for partial seizures in adults with favorable tolerability, and it has been recently approved for children older than age 4 years. There are no published studies regarding the safety and efficacy of this medication in the infant population. This report describes the initiation of levetiracetam in 3 infants, aged 2 days to 3 months, for refractory seizures or intolerance to other anticonvulsants. Each patient was without seizure on levetiracetam monotherapy, and there were no adverse effects.
Abend NS, Gutierrez-Colina AM, Monk HM, et al.
J Child Neurol. 2011;26(4):465-70.
Division of Neurology, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia,
Neonatal seizures are often refractory to treatment with initial antiseizure medications. Consequently, clinicians turn to alternatives such as levetiracetam, despite the lack of published data regarding its safety, tolerability, or efficacy in the neonatal population. We report a retrospectively identified cohort of 23 neonates with electroencephalographically confirmed seizures who received levetiracetam. Levetiracetam was considered effective if administration was associated with a greater than 50% seizure reduction within 24 hours. Levetiracetam was initiated at a mean conceptional age of 41 weeks. The mean initial dose was 16 ± 6 mg/kg and the mean maximum dose was 45 ± 19 mg/kg/day. No respiratory or cardiovascular adverse effects were reported or detected. Levetiracetam was associated with a greater than 50% seizure reduction in 35% (8 of 23), including seizure termination in 7. Further study is warranted to determine optimal levetiracetam dosing in neonates and to compare efficacy with other antiseizure medications.
Silverstein FS,Ferriero DM.
Pediatr Neurol. 2008;39(2):77-9.
Department of Pediatrics and Neurology, University of Michigan,
Medically refractory neonatal seizures represent a major therapeutic challenge in neonatal intensive care units. Conventional antiepileptic drugs demonstrate limited efficacy. Previous studies documented a high frequency of off-label drug therapy in neonates. We sought to determine if pediatric neurologists are recommending treatment of neonatal seizures with newer agents, despite a lack of information about their safety or efficacy in this population. Surveys were distributed at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the Child Neurology Society. Responses from 55 pediatric neurologists were analyzed. Seventy-three percent (40/55) recommended treatment of neonatal seizures with one or both of levetiracetam and topiramate; 47% (26/55) recommended levetiracetam; and 55% (30/55) recommended topiramate. Despite an absence of data on neonatal pharmacokinetics of either drug, neurologists made different dosing recommendations for these two drugs (P = 0.003, chi-square test). Respondents considered both agents to be efficacious in the majority of cases; adverse effects were recognized more frequently with topiramate. These results highlight the urgent need for rigorous clinical trials to understand the risks and benefits of new drug therapies for neonatal seizures.