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Cuts in Epilepsy Drugs Boost Children’s Post-Op IQ

Number of drugs cut and complete withdrawal tied to improved cognitive outcome

MONDAY, May 4, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Withdrawal of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in children is tied to higher IQ post-epilepsy surgery, according to a study published online April 21 in the Annals of Neurology.

Kim Boshuisen, M.D., from the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, and colleagues analyzed neuropsychological assessment data before and after epilepsy surgery for children participating in the TimeToStop study. The effect of AED withdrawal on postoperative IQ was assessed.

The researchers found that mean interval to latest neuropsychological assessment was 19.8 months. Reduction of AEDs significantly improved postoperative IQ and gain in IQ (adjusted regression coefficient [aRC], 3.4 [P = 0.018] and 4.5 [P = 0.002], respectively), as did complete withdrawal (aRC, 4.8 [P = 0.006] and 5.1 [P = 0.006], respectively). Decreased AEDs also predicted ≥10 points IQ increase (P = 0.019). After surgery, the higher the number of AEDs reduced, the higher the postoperative IQ and gain in IQ (IQ points per AED reduced: 2.2 [P = 0.007] and 2.6 [P = 0.001], respectively).

“Start of AED withdrawal, number of AEDs reduced, and complete AED withdrawal were associated with improved postoperative IQ scores and gain in IQ, independent of other determinants of cognitive outcome,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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