Effects of adjunctive eslicarbazepine acetate on neurocognitive functioning in children with refractory focal-onset seizures

Epilepsy Behav. 2018 Apr;81:1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2018.01.029. Epub 2018 Feb 22.


Purpose: This was a phase-II, randomized, double-blind (DB), placebo-controlled study aimed to evaluate neurocognitive effects of eslicarbazepine acetate (ESL) as adjunctive therapy in pediatric patients with refractory focal-onset seizures (FOS).

Methods: Children (6-16years old) with FOS were randomized (2:1) to ESL or placebo. Treatment started at 10mg/kg/day, was up-titrated up to 30mg/kg/day (target dose), and maintained for 8weeks, followed by one-year open-label follow-up. The primary endpoint was change from baseline to the end of maintenance period in the composite Power of Attention assessed with the Cognitive Drug Research (CDR) system. Behavioral and emotional functioning and quality of life (QOL), secondary endpoints, were assessed with Child Health Questionnaire-Parent Form 50 (CHQ-PF50), Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), and Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices (SPM). Efficacy was evaluated through changes in standardized seizure frequency (SF), responder rate, and proportion of seizure-free patients. Safety was evaluated by the incidence of treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs).

Results: One hundred and twenty-three patients were randomized. A noninferiority analysis failed to reject the null hypothesis that the change from baseline in the Power of Attention score in the ESL group was at least 121ms inferior to the placebo group for all age groups. The CDR scores showed no differences between placebo and ESL in Power of Attention (1868.0 vs 1759.5), Continuity of Attention (1.136 vs -1.786), Quality of Working Memory (-0.023 vs -0.024), and Speed of Memory (-263.4 vs -249.6). Nonsignificant differences between placebo and ESL were seen for CHQ-PF50, CBCL scores, and Raven's SPM. Episodic Memory Index showed significant negative effect on ESL. Efficacy results favored the ESL group (SF least square [LS] means 1.98 vs 4.29). The TEAEs had a similar incidence between treatment groups (41.0% vs 47.5%).

Conclusions: Overall ESL did not produce statistically significant effects on neurocognitive and behavioral functioning in patients with epilepsy aged 6 to 16years. Additionally, ESL was effective in reducing seizure frequency and was well-tolerated.

Keywords: Antiepileptic drugs; Children; Cognition; Epilepsy; Seizures.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Attention / physiology
  • Child
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dibenzazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy*
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Quality of Life
  • Seizures / drug therapy*
  • Seizures / physiopathology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Dibenzazepines
  • eslicarbazepine acetate