Cognitive effects of lamotrigine compared with topiramate in patients with epilepsy

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Abstract

Objective:

To compare the cognitive effects of lamotrigine vs topiramate as adjunctive therapy in adults with epilepsy.

Methods:

A multicenter, double-blind, randomized, prospective study was conducted in adults with partial seizures. Lamotrigine or topiramate was introduced as an adjunctive therapy to carbamazepine or phenytoin and titrated over 8 weeks to target doses. These drugs were maintained another 8 weeks (maintenance phase) without dosage changes. The primary endpoint was change from screening to the end of the maintenance phase in a combined analysis of standardized measures of cognition (Controlled Oral Word Association Task [COWA]; Stroop Color–Word Interference; Digit Cancellation; Lafayette Grooved Pegboard, dominant hand; Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test, delayed recall; and Symbol–Digit Modalities test).

Results:

For the primary endpoint, cognitive performance at the end of the maintenance phase was better with lamotrigine than with topiramate (415.3 vs 315.1; p < 0.001). On the individual cognitive tests, performance was better with lamotrigine than with topiramate in mean changes from screening on the COWA (p < 0.001), Stroop Color–Word Interference (p = 0.038), and Symbol–Digit Modalities tests (p < 0.001). The treatment effect exceeded the minimum clinically important difference for the COWA and the Symbol–Digit Modalities test. Mean changes from screening in the Performance-On-Line test simulating driving skills reflected better performance with lamotrigine than with topiramate (p = 0.021). The median percentage change from baseline in seizure frequency was lower with lamotrigine than with topiramate during the escalation phase (−80% vs −100%; p = 0.028) but not during the maintenance phase (−75% vs −100%; p = 0.062). The frequencies of cognitive adverse events and of premature withdrawals related to cognitive decline were higher with topiramate than with lamotrigine (6% vs 0%; p = 0.013).

Conclusion:

Lamotrigine had significantly less impact than topiramate on measures of cognition when used as adjunctive therapy for partial seizures.

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