September 8, 2022

Irritability and Its Relationship with Psychosocial Symptoms and Quality of Life in Adolescents with Epilepsy Receiving Levetiracetam Therapy: A Case-Control Study

Abstract found on PubMed 

Background: Levetiracetam, a widely used anticonvulsant drug in children and adolescents, has been associated with irritability, psychosocial symptoms, and low quality of life, which are also influenced by other epilepsy variables.

Purpose: The objective of this study was to investigate the level of treatment-related irritability in adolescents receiving levetiracetam, and to evaluate the relationship between irritability levels and psychosocial symptoms, and quality of life.

Methods: A cross-sectional, case-control study was conducted. Consecutive adolescent patients with epilepsy aged 11-17 years with partial or generalized seizures, treated with either levetiracetam or valproic acid for at least 6 months, and healthy controls were recruited. The Affective Reactivity Index parent report and self-report, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, and Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory-Psychosocial subscale were utilized to assess irritability, psychosocial symptoms, and functioning.

Results: A total of 120 participants were analyzed; 33 patients in the LEV group, 45 patients in the VPA group, and 42 healthy controls. Both self and parent report irritability levels of the LEV group were found to be significantly higher than those of healthy controls. The irritability levels of the LEV and VPA groups were not statistically different, but still the LEV group had higher irritability levels on both scales. In the LEV group, irritability was positively correlated with behavioral, emotional, and attention/hyperactivity problems, and also negatively correlated with psychosocial quality of life.

Conclusion: Adolescents with epilepsy using LEV have a high level of irritability and this is associated with some psychosocial symptoms and poor quality of life.