Oxcarbazepine monotherapy in benign childhood epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes: a clinical and cognitive evaluation

Epilepsy Behav. 2005 Nov;7(3):458-67. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2005.07.012. Epub 2005 Sep 12.


We report on 70 patients (aged 5.2-11.6 years) newly diagnosed with benign childhood epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes (BECTS) who were assigned to oxcarbazepine (OXC) monotherapy. All of them underwent clinical and electroencephalographic examination at baseline and at 3- to 6-month intervals during the study. Psychometric assessment was performed at baseline and after 18 months of treatment with the WISC-III, Illinois Test of Psychomotor Abilities, DSM-IV, and Bender-Santucci test. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to describe differences in the frequency of abnormal findings: (1) at initial evaluation, comparing patients with a matched group of 45 healthy controls, and (2) after 18 months of OXC monotherapy, as an individual follow-up in the patient group. Cognitive assessment at baseline revealed mild learning disabilities in 9% of patients and 7% of controls; all participants had a normal intelligence quotient. During the follow-up, sustained cessation of seizures under medication was observed in 53% of patients; an additional 21% had some relapse but were subsequently rendered seizure free, 21% experienced a >50% improvement, and 5% showed no improvement. Normalization of interictal epileptiform activity was observed in 58% of patients, 35% showed an improvement in the grade of electroencephalographic pathology, and 7% manifested no change at all. The initial mildly weak scores in isolated cognitive domains did not deteriorate, and even improved in some cases, during the course of the study, with concomitant electroencephalographic improvement or normalization and effective seizure control. The results of this study suggest that OXC is effective in preventing seizures and normalizing electroencephalograms and seems to preserve cognitive functions and behavioral abilities as long-term monotherapy in children with typical BECTS.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Carbamazepine / adverse effects
  • Carbamazepine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Carbamazepine / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography / drug effects*
  • Epilepsy, Rolandic / drug therapy*
  • Epilepsy, Rolandic / physiopathology
  • Epilepsy, Rolandic / psychology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Learning / drug effects
  • Long-Term Care
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Oxcarbazepine
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology*


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Carbamazepine
  • Oxcarbazepine