25-05-2015 | New Dutch study on corticosteroids in refractory epilepsy shows promise

25 May 2015
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A new Dutch research study has shown that corticosteroid treatment has shown promise in cases of children with refractory epilepsy. Refractory epilepsy is epilepsy which is not responding to treatment with medication. The research was carried out in the Sophia Children's Hospital with 21 children with refractory epilepsy , other than West syndrome and Landau Kleffner syndrome, participating. Steroids such as ACTH and prednisolone have long been used in some cases of childhood epilepsy for a short time and have anti-inflammatory and anticonvulsant effects.

Many schedules of these treatments have been tried in epilepsy management previously. Although they are considered a safe and effective treatment, steroids are a short –term treatment and relapse after stopping treatment is common. The aim of the Dutch study was to see if a hybrid therapy of a "pulse" course of corticosteroids could reduce seizures and if side effects could be reduced if the treatment was combined with a maintenance treatment given every second day also.

The children were given intravenous methylprednisolone over three days and then a low dose of prednisolone orally every other day for twelve weeks. The results showed that 43 % of the children responded well and 29% became seizure free while on the treatment. One child did not have a relapse of seizures. The researchers concluded that the hybrid treatment approach of the pulse of treatment and maintenance treatment every second day for 12 weeks was effective enough and had satisfactory safety results to warrant recommending further clinical trials.

For further information on this study see : http://www.ejpn-journal.com/article/S1090-3798%2815%2900080-X/abstract 

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