Levetiracetam for the Treatment of Seizures in Neonatal Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

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Abstract

The objective of this study was to determine the efficacy and safety of levetiracetam in treatment of neonatal seizures due to hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. Seizures often persist in neonates with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy despite phenobarbital. A retrospective single-center study was conducted in neonates ≥36 weeks gestation with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. A total of 127 neonates were identified born 2008-2015. Clinical seizures occurred in 83 infants. Fifty-one neonates (61%) had cessation of seizures with only phenobarbital. Thirty-two neonates received levetiracetam after phenobarbital, and the seizures stopped in 27 of these neonates. The mean total loading dose of levetiracetam was 63 mg/kg. Mean maintenance dose of levetiracetam was 65 mg/kg/d. We found no negative side effects in neonates following levetiracetam use. Our study finds that levetiracetam is an efficacious medication in treatment of seizures in the setting of neonatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. Future prospective studies should explore its use as a first-line medication.

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