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Comparison of the antiepileptogenic effects of an early long-term treatment with ethosuximide or levetiracetam in a genetic animal model of absence epilepsy.

Author(s): Russo E, Citraro R, Scicchitano F, De Fazio S, Di Paola ED, Constanti A, De Sarro G

Affiliation(s): Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Catanzaro, Catanzaro, Italy.

Publication date & source: 2010-08, Epilepsia., 51(8):1560-9. Epub 2009 Nov 16.

Publication type: Comparative Study; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

PURPOSE: Epilepsy is a heterogeneous syndrome characterized by recurrent, spontaneous seizures; continuous medication is, therefore, necessary, even after the seizures have long been suppressed with antiepileptic drug (AED) treatments. The most disturbing issue is the inability of AEDs to provide a persistent cure, because these compounds generally suppress the occurrence of epileptic seizures without necessarily having antiepileptogenic properties. The aim of our experiments was to determine, in the WAG/Rij model of absence epilepsy, if early long-term treatment with some established antiabsence drugs might prevent the development of seizures, and whether such an effect could be sustained. METHODS: WAG/Rij rats were treated for approximately 3.5 months (starting at 1.5 months of age, before seizure onset) with either ethosuximide (ETH; drug of choice for absence epilepsy) or levetiracetam (LEV; a broad-spectrum AED with antiabsence and antiepileptogenic properties). RESULTS: We have demonstrated that both drugs are able to reduce the development of absence seizures, exhibiting antiepileptogenic effects in this specific animal model. DISCUSSION: These findings suggest that absence epilepsy in this strain of rats very likely follows an epileptogenic process during life and that early therapeutic intervention is possible, thereby opening a new area of research for absence epilepsy and AED treatment strategies. Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (c) 2009 International League Against Epilepsy.

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