Any type of seizure can be observed in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Antiepileptic drugs seem to prevent the recurrence of epileptic seizures in most people with AD. There are pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for epilepsy in people with AD. There are no current systematic reviews to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of the treatment. This review aims to review those different modalities.
To assess the efficacy and tolerability of the treatment of epilepsy for people with Alzheimer's disease (AD) (including sporadic AD and dominantly inherited AD).
We searched the Cochrane Epilepsy Group Specialized Register (1 February 2016), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (1 February 2016), MEDLINE (Ovid, 1 February 2016) and ClinicalTrials.gov (1 February 2016). In an effort to identify further published, unpublished and ongoing trials, we searched ongoing trials' registers, reference lists and relevant conference proceedings, and contacted authors and pharmaceutical companies.
We included randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials investigating treatment for epilepsy in people with AD, with the outcomes of proportion of seizure freedom or experiencing adverse events.
Two review authors independently screened the titles and abstracts of identified records, selected studies for inclusion, extracted data, cross-checked the data for accuracy and assessed the methodological quality. We performed no meta-analyses due to the limited available data.
We included one randomised controlled trial with 95 participants. Concerning the proportion of participants with seizure freedom, no significant differences were found in levetiracetam (LEV) versus lamotrigine (LTG) (risk ratio (RR) 1.20, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.53 to 2.71), in levetiracetam versus phenobarbital (PB) (RR 1.01, 95% CI 0.47 to 2.19), or in LTG versus PB (RR 0.84, 95% CI 0.35 to 2.02). It seemed that LEV could improve cognition and LTG could relieve depression; while PB and LTG could worsen cognition, and LEV and PB could worsen mood. We judged the quality of the evidence to be very low.
This review does not provide sufficient evidence to support LEV, PB and LTG for the treatment of epilepsy in people with AD. Regarding the efficacy and tolerability, no significant differences were found between LEV, PB and LTG. In the future, large randomised, double-blind, controlled, parallel-group clinical trials are required to determine the efficacy and tolerability of treatment for epilepsy in people with AD.