A study published in the journal European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences suggests that levetiracetam add-on therapy is effective and has few side effects in children with refractory (drug-resistant) epilepsy. According to the authors, the drug can control and reduce seizures and is ideal for the treatment of refractory epilepsy in children.A total of 65 children aged between one and 12 years old with refectory epilepsy and clinical seizures took part in the study,which was conducted at the Xuzhou Children’s Hospital in China. The researchers gave the children levetiracetam in addition to their existing antiepileptic drug (add-on therapy) and took electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings three months before and three, six and nice months after the drug was started.The results showed that 6.9% of the children did not have any seizures after three months of add-on treatment with levetiracetam. This rate was highest after six months (at 10.3%) and was 3.4% after nine months of treatment.After three months of add-on treatment, 44.8% of the children had a 50% or more reduction in seizures. This ratio was up to 58.6% after six months of treatment and stood at 39.6% after nine months of treatment.Adverse side effects were seen in only 3% of the children, and included dysphoria (a state of unease and generalised dissatisfaction)and fatigue. However, these symptoms disappeared with time.Levetiracetam is an antiepileptic drug (AED) used to treat focal onset, myoclonic, or generalized tonic-clonic seizures in people with epilepsy. It is generally used alongside other AEDs. The way in which levetiracetam works is not very well understood, but it is thought to be slow aberrant nerve impulses in the brain.Refractory epilepsy, also known as drug resistant, epilepsy refers to cases where seizures cannot be controlled quickly with medication. Approximately one third of epilepsy cases are drug-resistant.Author: Dr Özge ÖzkayaClick here for more articles about anti-epileptic drugs and pregnancy risks.Click here for more articles about epilepsy in children.