BACKGROUND: Infantile spasms are a rare but devastating pediatric epilepsy that, outside the United States, is often treated with vigabatrin. The authors evaluated the efficacy and safety of vigabatrin in children with recent-onset infantile spasms. METHODS: This 2-week, randomized, single-masked, multicenter study with a 3- year, open-label, dose-ranging follow-up study included patients who were younger than 2 years of age, had a diagnosed duration of infantile spasms of no more than 3 months, and had not previously been treated with adrenocorticotropic hormone, prednisone, or valproic acid. Patients were randomly assigned to receive low-dose (18-36 mg/kg/day) or high-dose (100-148 mg/kg/day) vigabatrin. Treatment responders were those who were free of infantile spasm for 7 consecutive days beginning within the first 14 days of vigabatrin therapy. Time to response to therapy was evaluated during the first 3 months, and safety was evaluated for the entire study period. RESULTS: Overall, 32 of 142 patients who were able to be evaluated for efficacy were treatment responders (8/75 receiving low-dose vigabatrin vs 24/67 receiving high doses, p < 0.001). Response increased dramatically after approximately 2 weeks of vigabatrin therapy and continued to increase over the 3-month follow-up period. Time to response was shorter in those receiving high-dose versus low-dose vigabatrin (p = 0.04) and in those with tuberous sclerosis versus other etiologies (p < 0.001). Vigabatrin was well tolerated and safe; only nine patients discontinued therapy because of adverse events. CONCLUSIONS: These results confirm previous reports of the efficacy and safety of vigabatrin in patients with infantile spasms, particularly among those with spasms secondary to tuberous sclerosis.
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