September 25, 2018

Preliminary Data Shows Improvement of Attention and Cognition in Patients Taking Brivaracetam


PURPOSE: To assess short-term and longer-term effects of brivaracetam (BRV) on cognition and behavior in a naturalistic clinical setting.

METHODS: Analyses were based on 43 patients with epilepsy who had undergone a neuropsychological screening before adjunctive treatment with BRV and a follow-up evaluation either after 5 days or 25 weeks. The standard assessment focused on reaction times (Neurocog FX), attention and executive functions (EpiTrack), and verbal memory (short version of the VLMT). Self-perceived cognition and behavior was evaluated by an extended version of the Adverse Events Profile. In addition, health-related quality of life (QOLIE-10) was reassessed at the longer-term interval.

RESULTS: Repeated measures analysis of variance revealed a significant improvement under BRV with regard to attention and executive functions (p?=?.03) without an interaction with the length of the observation interval. A statistical trend in the same direction was also seen for the reaction times (p?=?.07), but not for the unchanged verbal memory performance. Subjective measures indicated improvements in concentration (p?=?.02) and especially in comprehension (p?<?.001), and health-related quality of life (p?=?.002). Mood and aggression scores were unchanged. At the longer-term follow-up, an at least 50 percent reduction in seizure frequency was observed in 53% of the patients, 21% were seizure free.

CONCLUSION: These preliminary data point to a favorable cognitive profile of brivaracetam similar to its precursor levetiracetam. Objective gains in attention and executive functions were accompanied by self-reported improvements in concentration and comprehension. Future studies with larger sample sizes and better control conditions are needed to confirm these findings.

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