Levetiracetam Versus Phenytoin or Fosphenytoin for Second-Line Treatment of Pediatric Status Epilepticus
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OBJECTIVE: To synthesize the available evidence examining the efficacy and safety of levetiracetam compared with phenytoin or fosphenytoin in benzodiazepine-refractory pediatric status epilepticus. DATA SOURCES: We searched (from inception until April 27, 2020) Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. STUDY SELECTION: Two reviewers, independently and in duplicate, screened citations and manuscripts for eligible randomized controlled trials. DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: Independently and in duplicate, we performed data abstraction, risk of bias assessment, and certainty assessment using Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation. We performed meta-analyses using random-effect models or, if insufficient data, presented findings narratively. RESULTS: We identified seven randomized controlled trials (n = 1,575). Pooled analysis demonstrated low certainty evidence for no difference of levetiracetam on time to seizure cessation (mean difference, -3.11 min; 95% CI, -6.67 to 0.45), early seizure cessation (relative risk, 1.09, 95% CI, 0.95-1.26), or late seizure cessation (relative risk, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.93-1.18). Adverse event outcomes were limited by low event numbers. We found low certainty evidence for less respiratory depression with levetiracetam (relative risk, 0.28; 95% CI, 0.12-0.69). CONCLUSIONS: The efficacy of levetiracetam is comparable with phenytoin or fosphenytoin in children with benzodiazepine-refractory status epilepticus (low certainty evidence). Levetiracetam may cause less respiratory depression. Clinicians and guideline developers should weigh safety profiles when choosing between these agents.
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