Topiramate in patients with learning disability and refractory epilepsy

Epilepsia. 2002 Apr;43(4):399-402. doi: 10.1046/j.1528-1157.2002.47401.x.


Purpose: Management of seizures in learning disabled people is challenging. This prospective study explored the efficacy and tolerability of adjunctive topiramate (TPM) in patients with learning disability and refractory epilepsy attending a single centre.

Methods: Sixty-four patients (36 men, 28 women, aged 16-65 years) were begun on adjunctive TPM after a 3-month prospective baseline on unchanged medication. Efficacy end points were reached when a consistent response was achieved over a 6-month period at optimal TPM dosing. These were seizure freedom or > or =50% seizure reduction (responder). Appetite, behaviour, alertness, and sleep were assessed by caregivers throughout the study.

Results: Sixteen (25%) patients became seizure free with adjunctive TPM. There were 29 (45%) responders. A further 10 (16%) patients experiencing a more modest improvement in seizure control continued on treatment at the behest of their family and/or caregivers. TPM was discontinued in the remaining nine (14%) patients, mainly because of side effects. Final TPM doses and plasma concentrations varied widely among the efficacy outcome groups. Many patients responding well to adjunctive TPM did so on < or =200 mg daily. Mean carer scores did not worsen with TPM therapy.

Conclusions: TPM was effective as add-on therapy in learning-disabled people with difficult-to-control epilepsy. Seizure freedom is a realistic goal in this population.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anticonvulsants / administration & dosage
  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects
  • Anticonvulsants / blood
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Epilepsy / blood
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy*
  • Epilepsy / psychology*
  • Female
  • Fructose / administration & dosage
  • Fructose / adverse effects
  • Fructose / analogs & derivatives
  • Fructose / blood
  • Fructose / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Learning Disabilities / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Topiramate
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Topiramate
  • Fructose