Levetiracetam Compared with Valproic Acid for the Prevention of Postoperative Seizures After Supratentorial Tumor Surgery: A Retrospective Chart Review

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Abstract

Introduction

Antiepileptic drugs are commonly given for perioperative prophylaxis after brain tumor surgery, and there has been growing interest in levetiracetam, a second-generation antiepileptic drug. This retrospective study compared the seizure outcomes, side effects and durability of levetiracetam with valproic acid after a craniotomy for supratentorial brain tumors.

Methods

Between 2009 and 2012, 282 consecutive patients with a supratentorial brain tumor underwent a craniotomy at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital. Of these patients, 51 (18.1 %) and 231 (81.9 %) were pre-operatively administered levetiracetam and valproic acid, respectively. The postoperative seizure outcomes (within 1 month after surgery) and the long-term side effects of both drugs were evaluated.

Results

Of the 51 patients in the levetiracetam group, 4 (7.8 %) experienced postoperative seizures after brain tumor surgery, and 15 (6.5 %) of the 231 patients in the valproic acid group experienced postoperative seizures (p = 0.728). The long-term complication rate of the valproic acid group (26.8 %; 62/231) was significantly higher than that of the levetiracetam group (9.8 %; 5/51) [p = 0.010]. In the valproic acid group, 10 hepatotoxicities, 20 hyperammonemias and 10 hematologic abnormalities (6 thrombocytopenias, 3 pancytopenias, and 1 leucopenia) occurred. Moreover, 89 patients (38.5 %) in the valproic acid group changed or added other anticonvulsants because of side effects or uncontrolled seizures, whereas only 9 patients (17.6 %) in the levetiracetam group changed or added other anticonvulsants (p = 0.005).

Conclusions

The postoperative seizure control rates of levetiracetam and valproic acid were not statistically significantly different; however, levetiracetam may be superior to valproic acid in terms of its safety and durability after supratentorial tumor surgery.

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