Seizure. 2021 Jun 29;91:316-324. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2021.06.020. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: Although cannabidiol and fenfluramine have been recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for seizures in children with Dravet syndrome (DS), the comparative efficacy and safety of these and stiripentol as an add-on therapy for DS has not been evaluated in head-to-head trials. The current study aimed to assess the comparative efficacy and safety of add-on anti-seizure medications in DS.
METHODS: PubMed and EMBASE database search and a manual search was done using keywords; « antiepileptic », « Dravet syndrome » and « antiseizure ». The primary efficacy outcome was ≥50% reduction in convulsive seizure frequency from baseline while the safety outcome was treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs). Frequentist approach were used for combining direct and indirect evidence and network plots prepared. The drugs were ranked based on p-scores obtained using the surface under the cumulative ranking (SUCRA). Heterogeneity across studies was calculated by I2 statistic and Q test.
RESULTS: Five randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with 565 patients with DS (2-20 years) who received placebo or any of the three active interventions (stiripentol, cannabidiol, and fenfluramine) were included. Compared with placebo, all the three drugs were associated with a significant reduction in convulsive seizure frequency from baseline. Stiripentol had the highest probability ranking for ≥50% reduction in convulsive seizure frequency from baseline [OR: 20.2; 95% CI: 2.1-198.0] and for occurrence of any treatment emergent adverse events (TEAEs) [OR:53.9; 95% CI: 1.4 to 2079.8] followed by fenfluramine and cannabidiol. However, for serious TEAEs, the ranking order was stiripentol followed by cannabidiol and fenfluramine. The trial on stiripentol had limited sample size explaining the wide confidence intervals for the comparative outcomes.
CONCLUSION: In this indirect comparison, fenfluramine and stiripentol hadd comparable efficacy but fenfluramine appeareded to be safer in terms of less frequent serious TEAEs. Cannabidiol had relatively lower efficacy and was associated with serious TEAEs. A head-to-head trial between stiripentol, cannabidiol and fenfluramine is the need of the hour.