Efficacy and tolerability of brivaracetam in patients with intellectual disability and epilepsy

Ruby M. E. Gillis*, Elisabeth A. Wammes-van der Heijden, Helenius J. Schelhaas, In Y. Tan, Dederieke A. M. Festen, Marian H. J. M. Majoie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Patients with intellectual disability (ID) are often excluded from clinical trials, and little is known about the best approach to treat their epilepsy. Brivaracetam (BRV) is a new antiepileptic drug (AED) for adjunctive treatment in patients with focal-onset seizures with or without secondary generalization. We analyzed the efficacy and tolerability of BRV in patients with ID and epilepsy who either had or had not previously received treatment with levetiracetam (LEV). Data on efficacy and tolerability were retrospectively collected. After the initial start of BRV in our tertiary epilepsy center, we analyzed medical records at 0, 3, 6 and 12 months of follow-up. 116 patients were included (mean age = 34.9 years, 44% female). All had complete data of 3-month follow-up, 76 of 6-month follow-up, and 39 patients of 1-year follow-up. Median starting dose of BRV was 50.0 mg/day and the mean number of concomitant AEDs was 2.6. Seizure reduction and no side effects were reported in more than half of all patients. The most reported side effects were somnolence, dizziness and aggression. Retention rates for BRV were 84.4%, 75.5% and 58.1% after 3, 6 and 12 months, respectively. Seizure reduction and side effects did not differ significantly between the groups with or without previous LEV treatment. We demonstrate that BRV is effective and well tolerated in patients with epilepsy and ID, even in those where previous LEV treatment failed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-684
Number of pages8
JournalActa Neurologica Belgica
Issue number3
Early online date10 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Brivaracetam
  • Efficacy
  • Epilepsy
  • Intellectual disability
  • Side effects

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