A Comparison of the Efficacy of Carbamazepine and the Novel Anti-Epileptic Drug Levetiracetam in the Tetanus Toxin Model of Focal Complex Partial Epilepsy

HC Doheny, MA Whittington, John Jefferys, PN Patsalos

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    30 Citations (Scopus)


    1. The tetanus toxin seizure model, which is associated with spontaneous and intermittent generalized and non-generalized seizures, is considered to reflect human complex partial epilepsy. The purpose of the present study was to investigate and compare the anticonvulsant effects of carbamazepine with that of levetiracetam, a new anti-epileptic drug in this model. 2. One microl of tetanus toxin solution (containing 12 mLD(50) microl(-1) of tetanus toxin) was placed stereotactically into the rat left hippocampus resulting in generalized and non-generalized seizures. 3. Carbamazepine (4 mg kg(-1) h(-1)) and levetiracetam (8 and 16 mg kg(-1) h(-1)) were administered during a 7 day period via an osmotic minipump which was placed in the peritoneal cavity. Carbamazepine (4 mg kg(-1) h(-1)) exhibited no significant anticonvulsant effect, compared to control, when the entire 7 day study period was evaluated but the reduction in generalized seizures was greater (35.5%) than that for non-generalized seizures (12.6%). However, during the first 2 days of carbamazepine administration a significant reduction in both generalized seizure frequency (90%) and duration (25%) was observed. Non-generalized seizures were unaffected. This time-dependent anticonvulsant effect exactly paralleled the central (CSF) and peripheral (serum) kinetics of carbamazepine in that steady-state concentrations declined over time, with the highest concentrations achieved during the first 2 days. Also there was a significant 27.3% reduction in duration of generalized seizures during the 7 day study period (P=0.0001). 4. Levetiracetam administration (8 and 16 mg kg(-1) h(-1)) was associated with a dose-dependent reduction in the frequency of both generalized (39 v 57%) and non-generalized (36 v 41%) seizures. However, seizure suppression was more substantial for generalized seizures. Also a significant dose-dependent reduction in overall generalized seizure duration was observed. 5. These data provide experimental evidence for the clinical efficacy of levetiracetam for the management of patients with complex partial seizures. Furthermore, levetiracetam probably does not act by preventing ictogenesis per se but acts to reduce seizure severity and seizure generalization.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1425-1434
    Number of pages10
    JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2002


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