Clinical experience in open-label studies and anectodal reports suggest that levetiracetam is effective in generalized epilepsy. In this open-label prospective study, 19 patients (3 men, 16 women) affected by idiopathic generalized epilepsy were followed for at least 6 months following the introduction of levetiracetam. Patients were categorized according to syndrome subtype: juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (8), juvenile absence epilepsy (5), childhood absence epilepsy (4), and eyelid myoclonia with absences (2). Eleven patients received levetiracetam as monotherapy, eight as add-on therapy. Effectiveness was demonstrated in 18 patients: 13 became seizure-free (five juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, five juvenile absence epilepsy, three childhood absence epilepsy), and five achieved significant reductions in seizure frequency (three juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, one childhood absence epilepsy, one eyelid myoclonia with absences). Only one patient experienced no change in seizure frequency (eyelid myoclonia with absences). Clinical improvement was accompanied by EEG abnormality suppression or reduction. Levetiracetam was well tolerated; no patient reported side-effects.
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