Paediatr Drugs. 2021 May 6. doi: 10.1007/s40272-021-00448-0. Online ahead of print.
Impairments in cognition are common in epilepsy and may be caused or exacerbated by antiseizure medications (ASMs). Positive effects on cognition may also be seen with some ASMs. Cognitive outcomes are of particular concern in children who may be at an increased risk of cognitive adverse effects of treatment. A comprehensive literature search was conducted in PubMed in order to evaluate the evidence for cognitive changes associated with treatment with ASMs in paediatric epilepsy patients. The ASMs considered were those in the current edition of the British National Formulary (BNF). For most ASMs, remarkably few studies providing robust data on cognitive effects in paediatric patients were identified. The available evidence suggests cognitive impairments may be associated with treatment with phenobarbital. Topiramate and phenytoin are also associated with negative effects on cognition, in particular word-finding difficulties and other language deficits with topiramate, but there are few data available specifically on children. Lamotrigine, levetiracetam and fenfluramine are associated with improvements in some cognitive domains, although it is unclear whether these effects are directly attributable to the medications or are a result of improvements in seizures. Neutral effects on cognition (no substantial evidence of worsening) were suggested for carbamazepine, everolimus, lacosamide, oxcarbazepine, perampanel and valproate. There is limited data for cannabidiol, clobazam, eslicarbazepine acetate, ethosuximide, rufinamide, vigabatrin and zonisamide, although the available evidence suggests these drugs are not associated with severe cognitive impairment. There was too little information to reach conclusions about the effects of brivaracetam, felbamate, gabapentin, pregabalin, retigabine, stiripentol or tiagabine.