January 5, 2022

Differences in Aggression as Psychiatric Side Effect of Levetiracetam (Keppra®) and Perampanel (Fycompa®) in Patients with Epilepsy

Abstract, originally published in Epilepsy & Behavior

Purpose: Aggression is the most commonly encountered antiepileptic-drug (AED)-induced psychiatric adverse effects. Levetiracetam (LEV) is well known to be associated with increased rates of aggression, while perampanel (PER) is also recognized as a potentially aggression-promoting agent, though opinions vary. However, few studies have addressed questions regarding whether the nature of irritability-aggression differs between those drugs. The present study used a standardized rating scale to examine aggression among patient with epilepsy who received LEV or PER using specific measures to confirm the effects of the drugs.

Methods: We enrolled 144 consecutive outpatients receiving treatment for epilepsy with LEV (n = 103) or PER (n = 41), and determined their effects regarding aggression using the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire (BAQ). For analysis, total BAQ scores for the LEV and PER subjects were compared to determine whether the aggression-promoting effects of the agents differed, and which BAQ subdomains (physical aggression, verbal aggression, anger, hostility) were related to production of aggression in patients taking either LEV or PER. As a subsidiary analysis, clinical variables inclusive of administered AED type that showed a significant impact on BAQ scores were determined.

Results: The LEV group had a significantly higher hostility score (19.4 ± 5.8) as compared to the PER group (17.2 ± 6.3) in subscale analysis (p < 0.05). In multiple regression analysis, LEV had a significant association with higher hostility score (P = 0.006).

Conclusion: Our results indicate that while easily visible outward-directed aggression tends to be dominant in patients given perampanel, aggression provoked by levetiracetam may be felt more subjectively or in an inward-directed manner, which can lead to more diverse expression and misrecognition.

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