Effect of levetiracetam on behavioral problems in pervasive developmental disorder children with epilepsy

Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2014 Jul;18(4):482-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpn.2014.03.007. Epub 2014 Mar 26.


Aims: We investigated the relationship between behavioral problems, location of electroencephalogram (EEG) paroxysmal abnormalities (PA), and treatment with levetiracetam in children with pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) and epilepsy.

Methods: Twelve PDD children with epilepsy were included in the study. All patients had EEG PA (frontal spikes, 8; rolandic, 3; generalized, 1). After a 3-month baseline period, patients were given levetiracetam with an initial dose of 10 mg/kg/day for the first week, followed by increments of 5 mg/kg/day every week. Levetiracetam dosage was then adjusted up to a maximum of 60 mg/kg/day. EEG recordings were performed every 3 months, focusing on PA frequency. We counted the frequency of seizures and EEG PA, and scored instances of panic/aggressive behaviors.

Results: Eight (66.7%) of the 12 patients were considered to be responders to clinical seizures and EEG findings (≥50% reduction in both seizures and PA frequency). Six (75%) of these eight patients were considered to be responders for behavioral problems (≥50% reduction in panic/aggressive behavior). These six patients had frontal EEG paroxysms, whereas the remaining two patients without behavioral responses had rolandic EEG paroxysms. Patients with frontal PA showed a significantly higher correlation between EEG/clinical seizures and behavioral improvements (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: The present data indicated the usefulness of LEV in reducing behavioral problems related to the reduction of seizures and frontal spikes in PDD for some but not all of the patients. Thus, levetiracetam represents an important addition to treatment for PDD children with epilepsy presenting with frontal EEG paroxysms.

Keywords: Behavior; EEG paroxysmal abnormalities; Frontal; Levetiracetam; Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD); Refractory epilepsy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Behavioral Symptoms / drug therapy*
  • Behavioral Symptoms / etiology*
  • Brain Waves / drug effects
  • Child
  • Developmental Disabilities / complications*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy / complications*
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Levetiracetam
  • Male
  • Piracetam / analogs & derivatives*
  • Piracetam / therapeutic use
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Levetiracetam
  • Piracetam