To estimate the comparative efficacy and safety of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in the elderly with new-onset epilepsy.
We searched electronic databases for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of monotherapy AEDs to treat epilepsy in elderly. The following outcomes were analyzed: seizure freedom and withdrawal from the study for any cause at 6 and 12 months; withdrawal from the study for any adverse event (AE) at 12 months; and occurrence of any AE at 12 months. Effect sizes were estimated by network meta-analyses within a frequentist framework. The hierarchy of competing interventions was established using the surface under the cumulative ranking curve (SUCRA) and mean ranks.
Five RCTs (1425 patients) were included. Included AEDs were carbamazepine immediate- and controlled-release (CBZ-IR, CBZ-CR), gabapentin (GBP), lacosamide (LCM), lamotrigine (LTG), levetiracetam (LEV), phenytoin (PHT), and valproic acid (VPA). At the pairwise and network meta-analyses, there were no differences in any of the comparison according to 6- and 12-month seizure freedom. The treatment with CBZ-IR and CBZ-CR was associated with a higher risk of withdrawal than LTG, LEV, or VPA, and CBZ-IR had the overall highest probability of discontinuation across all AEDs. According to SUCRA, the following had the greatest likelihood ranking best for seizure freedom at 6 and 12 months: LCM, LTG, and LEV. CBZ-CR and CBZ-IR had the highest probabilities of being worst for the 12-month retention. CBZ-IR, CBZ-CR, and GBP had the highest probabilities of withdrawal from the study for AEs, , and VPA had the highest probability of being the best-tolerated option.
Although no significant difference in efficacy was found across treatments, LCM, LTG, and LEV had the highest probability of ranking best for achieving seizure freedom. CBZ-IR and CBZ-CR showed a poor tolerability profile, leading to higher withdrawal rates compared to LEV and VPA.
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