Gabapentin is widely approved as add-on therapy for epilepsy treatment for partial seizures with and without secondary generalization. To investigate the efficacy of gabapentin administered as monotherapy in patients with newly diagnosed partial epilepsy, a randomized double-blind trial was performed.Methods:
Eligible patients were randomized to receive one of three masked doses of gabapentin (300, 900, or 1,800 mg/day) or open-label carbamazepine (600 mg/day) and kept daily seizure diaries throughout the study. After titration, patients entered a 24-week evaluation phase. Patients were required to exit the study if they experienced an exit event, defined as a total of three simple or complex partial seizures, one generalized tonic-clonic (GTC) seizure, or status epilepticus. Patients could be withdrawn for lack of efficacy, adverse events, or noncompliance. Kaplan-Meier statistics were used to estimate the probability that patients would continue in the study without having an exit event.Results:
Time to exit event was longer for patients on 900 mg/day (n = 72) or 1,800 mg/day (n = 74) of gabapentin than for patients receiving 300 mg/day (n = 72; p = 0.0395 and 0.0175, respectively). The most clinically relevant measure of retention on treatment (exit event plus adverse event withdrawal rate) was similar for carbamazepine (n = 74) and 1,800 mg/day gabapentin (54% versus 57%) but was lower (better) for 900 mg/day gabapentin (44%). No unexpected new adverse events emerged with gabapentin monotherapy.Conclusions:
Gabapentin at 900 or 1,800 mg/day is effective and safe as monotherapy for patients with newly diagnosed partial epilepsy.