Department of Neurology, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona Spain
Purpose. The purpose of the study was to assess changes in cognitive functions and quality of life in patients with epilepsy over one year of treatment with levetiracetam (LEV) as add-on therapy. Methods. Thirty-two patients (16 women; 16 men) who received LEV as an add-on treatment were included, and 27 completed the one-year follow-up period. Extensive neuropsychological assessments, together with a quality-of-life questionnaire were administered at baseline and at one, three, six and twelve months after beginning the add-on treatment. Patients received LEV starting with 500 mg/day in the first week, increasing by a further 500 mg/day per week until a target dose of 2 000 mg/day was reached by the end of the first month. Results. At the one-year follow-up, a significant improvement was observed in measurements of prospective memory, working memory, motor functions, verbal fluency, attention and quality of life. Performance for neuropsychological and quality-of-life tests was not affected by external variables such as seizure reduction or changes in previous anti-epileptic treatment. Slight changes between patients were observed, but these were not clinically significant.The limited sample size and the lack of a control group should be mentioned as limitations of the study. No control group was evaluated as in our clinical practice it was difficult to establish a comparable group of patients. Changes in the different variables were assessed by comparing baseline information with follow-up results.Despite the study limitations, we consider that the one-year treatment period provides valuable information regarding the drug’s long-term effects in this setting. Conclusions. Results of the present study suggest that long-term LEV treatment as add-on therapy does not interfere with cognitive function and improves quality of life.