Effects of cenobamate on cognitive performance of epilepsy patients

Published:October 04, 2022DOI:


      • Assessment of cognition before and during adjunctive treatment with cenobamate.
      • Most patients showed stable or improved cognitive performance (EpiTrack).
      • Cognitive change was not associated with cenobamate dose.



      Cenobamate (CNB) is a new antiseizure medication (ASM) for the treatment of focal epilepsy in adults. While efficacy of CNB was confirmed in controlled clinical trials, its effects on cognition are unclear. Cognitive adverse effects of ASM affect quality of life and retention rate. Therefore, we investigated whether the adjunctive treatment with CNB is associated with changes in cognitive performance.


      Efficacy and tolerability of CNB were investigated in an observational study. Fifty patients with pharmacoresistant focal epilepsy aged 18 to 71 years (Mdn = 37.5 years) were tested before (T0) and after reaching the first target dose of CNB, usually after three months (T1). Cognitive performance was assessed using the EpiTrack©, a change-sensitive screening tool for attention and executive functions.


      The median CNB dose at T1 was 125 mg/day (range: 50 – 250 mg/day). Most patients received 2–3 concomitant ASMs. Individual test scores remained stable in 72%, significantly improved in 16%, and significantly deteriorated in 12% of the patients from T0 to T1. The total group showed a significant improvement in EpiTrack scores (p < .01). Changes in EpiTrack performance from T0 to T1 occurred independently of CNB dose, changes in the total drug load or reduction in seizure frequency.


      Most of the patients showed stable or improved cognitive performance. Thus, there is preliminary evidence that adjunctive CNB is not associated with an increased risk of cognitive side effects for the majority of patients. These findings need to be confirmed in controlled trials encompassing higher doses.


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