Brivaracetam add-on treatment in pediatric patients with severe drug-resistant epilepsy: Italian real-world evidence

Published:October 01, 2022DOI:


      • Brivaracetam (BRV) is an option for severe pediatric drug-resistant epilepsy.
      • Epilepsy onset >12 months is associated with a better prognosis after BRV.
      • Greater epilepsy duration and seizure frequency associate with a worse prognosis.
      • Discontinuation of BRV may be due to lack of efficacy, in severe pediatric epilepsy.



      : To report the efficacy and tolerability of brivaracetam (BRV) in add-on therapy in pediatric patients with severe drug-resistant epilepsy. Prognostic factors of clinical outcome were also analyzed.


      : This Italian multicenter retrospective observational study was conducted on 45 pediatric patients with severe drug-resistant epilepsy, treated with BRV for at least 1 month and with a follow-up >6 months. Demographic, clinical, and treatment variables were assessed at T0 (baseline, BRV introduction) and T1 (6 months after BRV introduction). The response was defined as ≥50% seizure frequency reduction; responders and non-responders were then compared to assess potential prognostic factors.


      : Forty-five patients (M = 28, mean age 12.4+/-4.4 years) were enrolled (focal epilepsy=14; generalized epilepsy=2; epileptic encephalopathy=29). At T1, 19/45 patients (42.2%) were responders (≥50% seizure frequency reduction), with 4 patients (8.9%) achieving a ≥ 75% seizure reduction and 2 patients (4.4%) becoming seizure free. Epilepsy onset at >12 months of age (p = 0.001), disease duration ≤6 years (p = 0.036), and lower seizure frequency at baseline (p = 0.008) were the prognostic factors significantly associated with a better prognosis. No significant difference emerged for demographics, epilepsy types/etiology, intellectual disability, or therapy variables. At T1, 21 patients (46.6%) discontinued BRV, mainly due to lack of efficacy (13 subjects; 28.9%) and adverse events in 8 patients (17.8%).


      : Brivaracetam was an effective and tolerated treatment in pediatric patients with severe drug-resistant epilepsy, especially when the seizure onset was at >12 months of age, the epilepsy duration ≤6 years, and the seizure frequency before BRV treatment was low. Further and controlled studies are needed.


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