Purpose: Our objective was to compare the efficacy and safety of gabapentin and vigabatrin as first-line add-on treatment in patients with partial epilepsy.
Methods: This was a multicenter, double-blind, randomized dose titration study. After baseline assessment and randomization, the dose could be increased if seizures persisted and reduced if side effects occurred. Health-related quality of life was assessed at baseline and at the end of the study. By a protocol amendment post hoc, all randomized patients were offered a standardized perimetry examination at the end of the study. Improvement rate was the proportion of patients with a reduction of seizure frequency of at least 50% during an 8-week period without any adverse events causing withdrawal.
Results: One hundred two patients were randomized and analyzed on an intent-to-treat basis. The improvement rate was 48% in the gabapentin group and 56% in the vigabatrin group. The improvement rate, when per protocol criteria were fulfilled, was 57% in the gabapentin group and 59% in the vigabatrin group. The proportion of seizure-free patients was 31% in the gabapentin group and 39% in the vigabatrin group. There was no difference in quality-of-life scores between the groups. Perimetry after termination of the study on 64 patients showed abnormal results in 3 of 32 patients in the vigabatrin group.
Conclusion: Approximately one third of the patients in both groups became seizure-free. Although no major differences were seen in terms of the improvement rate between the groups, equivalence between the two drugs was not found.