Efficacy and Tolerability of Clobazam in Adults With Drug-Refractory Epilepsy

Neurol Clin Pract. 2021 Oct;11(5):e669-e676. doi: 10.1212/CPJ.0000000000000992.


Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness and tolerability of clobazam as an adjunctive treatment for adults with drug-resistant epilepsy.

Methods: We performed a single-center, retrospective chart review of patients aged ≥18 years with drug-resistant epilepsy who started clobazam between 2010 and 2018. Included patients had outpatient visits both before and ≥1 month after clobazam initiation. Epilepsy classification, seizure frequency before and after clobazam, duration of clobazam treatment, and adverse effects were analyzed.

Results: A total of 417 patients met the inclusion criteria. Mean age was 37.5 years, and 54% of patients were female. Patients were on a mean of 2.4 antiepileptic drugs at the time of initiation of clobazam. Epilepsy types were focal (56.8%), Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) (21.1%), generalized (15.1%), and unclassified (7.0%). At the first follow-up visit ≥1 month after clobazam initiation, 50.3% of patients had >50% reduction in seizure frequency, and 20.5% were seizure free. Of the initial cohort, 17.1% were followed >1 year and were seizure free at last follow-up. Response rates did not differ between different epilepsy classifications. Fifty-one percent of patients experienced ≥1 side effect, most commonly lethargy/fatigue (30.7%) or mood changes (10.8%). A total of 178 (42.6%) patients discontinued clobazam, most commonly due to adverse effects (55%).

Conclusions: Clobazam is effective and safe as a long-term adjunctive therapy for adults with drug-resistant epilepsy; efficacy in off-label use is similar to that in LGS.

Classification of evidence: This study provides Class IV evidence that clobazam is an effective treatment for adults with drug-resistant epilepsy, independent of epilepsy classification.