Purpose: To evaluate the cognitive and behavioral effects of topiramate (TPM) versus carbamazepine (CBZ) using efficacious doses of each drug as monotherapy for children with benign rolandic epilepsy.
Methods: A multicenter, randomized, open-label, observer-blinded, parallel-group clinical trial was conducted. TPM was introduced at a dose of 12.5 mg/day with the minimum target dose of 50 mg/day in patients <30 kg and 75 mg/day in patients >30 kg over 4 weeks. CBZ was started at a dose of 10 mg/kg/day with the minimum target dose of 20 mg/kg/day over 4 weeks. Additional individual escalation was allowed up to a maximum target dose. The primary study end point was change on a neuropsychological test battery after 28 weeks of treatment.
Results: Neuropsychological data were available for 88 patients (45 patients for TPM and 43 patients for CBZ). Of the cognitive variables measured, arithmetic showed significant worsening in TPM (p = 0.037). An additional test, for maze, also showed a significantly greater improvement for CBZ (p = 0.026). Of behavioral variables, no significant changes were found but the scores had a negative trend for the TPM. When 30 patients on the minimum target dose for TPM were compared to 40 patients treated with minimum target CBZ, there was no significant worsening of cognitive and behavioral effects in the TPM.
Conclusion: The pattern of neuropsychometric changes with TPM seemed to be slightly worse overall than CBZ. However, outcome with the minimum target dose did not differ significantly in comparisons between the treatment groups.