Objective: To assess the effect of long-term treatment of phenobarbital, carbamazepine and sodium valproate on serum lipids and lipoproteins in epileptic children.
Methodology: One hundred and fourteen (55 male, 59 female) children and adolescents suffering from various types of epilepsy who received different antiepileptic drugs were studied. The patients were subdivided into three groups according to their therapy: (i) carbamazepine (35 patients); (ii) phenobarbital (34 patients); and (iii) sodium valproate (45 patients). One-hundred healthy sex- and age-matched children served as controls. Lipids and lipoprotein profile were evaluated before the beginning of the anticonvulsant therapy and after at least 2.5 years. In the patients receiving phenobarbital, we re-evaluated 12 children (seven male, five female) at the end of therapy.
Results: The children receiving phenobarbital showed high levels of serum total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and low levels of triglycerides, while children treated with carbamazepine had high levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Children treated with valproate had low triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels with high levels of HDL cholesterol. The patients treated with phenobarbital showed a normalization of all parameters after the end of therapy.
Conclusions: Anticonvulsant drugs significantly modify serum lipids and lipoproteins in epileptic children. The changes due to phenobarbital seem to be transient.