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Analysis of the efficacy and influencing factors of sodium channel blockers in the treatment of focal epilepsy in infants under 6 months of age

Zhonghua Er Ke Za Zhi. 2023 Nov 2;61(11):983-988. doi: 10.3760/cma.j.cn112140-20230731-00057.


Objective: To analyze the efficacy and safety of the sodium channel blockers (SCB) antiseizure medication in the treatment of focal epilepsy in infants under 6 months of age. Methods: This was a case series study. Infants with focal epilepsy with onset within 6 months of age and treated with SCB attending the Department of Neurology of Beijing Children’s Hospital from June 2016 to April 2022 were collected. The clinical data, auxiliary examinations, SCB application, efficacy, adverse reactions, and prognosis were analyzed retrospectively. Patients were grouped according to type of seizure and epileptic syndrome, age of onset and etiology. Chi square test and Fisher exact test were used to analyze the differences between groups statistically. Results: A total of 118 infants were enrolled, 65 males and 53 females, with an age of epilepsy onset of 56 (4, 114) days. Developmental and epileptic encephalopathy was diagnosed in 60 infants, 39 had self-limited neonatal and (or) infantile epilepsy, and 19 had non-syndromic focal epilepsy. Application of SCB: 106 used oxcarbazepine, 2 used lacosamide, 9 switched from oxcarbazepine to lacosamide or a combination of 2 SCB, and 1 used oxcarbazepine, lacosamide, and lamotrigine successively; oxcarbazepine was the first choice in 46 cases. The age at which SCB was applied was 103 (53, 144) days. The children were followed up for 6 months to 6 years. SCB was effective in 89 cases (75.4%), including 70 cases (59.3%) who achieved seizure freedom. The seizure-free rate was higher in the focal epilepsy only group than in the group with other seizure types (64.4% (65/101) vs. 4/17, χ²=9.99, P<0.05). The responder and seizure-free rates were all higher in the group with the onset age of >3-6 months than the group >1-3 months (84.4% (38/45) vs. 62.5% (20/32), 73.3% (33/45) vs. 46.9% (15/32), χ²=4.85 and 5.58, both P<0.05). With the exception of variants in the PRRT2 gene, those with variants in sodium or potassium channels had higher responder and seizure-free rates than those with variants in other genes(86.2% (25/29) vs. 45.5% (10/22), 62.1% (18/29) vs. 22.7% (5/22), χ²=9.65 and 7.82,both P<0.05). The most common adverse event was transient hyponatremia, which happened in 66 cases (55.9%). There were 9 cases of rash, which subsided in 6 cases after discontinuing oxcarbazepine and switching to lacosamide, and 7 cases of electrocardiogram abnormalities, which improved after withdrawing oxcarbazepine and changing to lacosamide in 1 case. Conclusion: SCB are effective and tolerable in the treatment of focal epilepsy in infants under 6 months of age, with better efficacy in patients with genetic variants of the sodium or potassium channel, focal seizures only, and seizure onset >3-6 months of age.

PMID:37899337 | DOI:10.3760/cma.j.cn112140-20230731-00057

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