Photosensitive Epilepsy: A Model to Study the Effects of Antiepileptic Drugs. Evaluation of the Piracetam Analogue, Levetiracetam

Epilepsy Res. 1996 Nov;25(3):225-30. doi: 10.1016/s0920-1211(96)00031-9.


The experimental antiepileptic drug, levetiracetam (UCB L059), a piracetam analogue has been investigated in photosensitive patients in the "photosensitivity model", an early phase II study. A total of 12 patients (10 females, 2 males) with a mean age of 21.5 years (range 13-38) were investigated during a 3 day period in 3 centres (France, The Netherlands, Germany), using the same standardised method. The subjects were either treated with a single oral dose of 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg or 1,000 mg. In addition, 4 patients took 250 mg b.i.d. for 3-5 days, after which they were re-examined. In 9 of 12 photosensitive patients (75%) a clear suppression (3 patients) or abolishment (6 patients) of IPS evoked photoparoxysmal EEG responses was found. This effect appeared to be dose-dependent, the higher the dose the greater the effect; complete abolishment was only seen at dosages of 750 mg and 1,000 mg, occurring at peak plasma levels and lasting between 6 and 30 h. There was no indication of pharmacokinetic interaction with concomitant antiepileptic drugs such as valproic acid, ethosuximide or phenobarbitone. No serious side-effects were seen and some patients reported enhancement of their mood. Two patients with myoclonic jerks noticed a clear reduction of their myoclonus, although this was not one of the objectives of the study. In conclusion, levetiracetam showed a clear antiepileptic effect in the photosensitivity model.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Electroencephalography / drug effects
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy*
  • Epilepsy / etiology
  • Europe
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Levetiracetam
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nootropic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Photic Stimulation / adverse effects*
  • Piracetam / analogs & derivatives*
  • Piracetam / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Nootropic Agents
  • Levetiracetam
  • Piracetam