Childhood Epilepsy Due to Neurocysticercosis: A Comparative Study


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. M. M. Guerreiro at Department of Neurology, FCM, UNICAMP, P.O. Box 6111, 13083-970, Campinas, SP, Brazil. E-mail:


Summary:  Purpose: To assess the clinical profile of pediatric patients with epilepsy and neurocysticercosis (NC), and compare them with a group of pediatric patients with benign partial epilepsy to determine clinical differences, response to treatment, and prognosis.

Methods: We studied 28 patients (16 girls) with probable or definitive diagnosis of NC and epilepsy and 32 patients (16 girls) with partial benign epilepsy (BE). All patients had normal neurologic examination. We compared NC and BE patients looking for differences in demographics (age at first seizure, gender, family history); clinical presentation (type, frequency, duration, and total number of seizures, duration of epilepsy, status epilepticus, cluster, and postictal deficit); treatment [duration, number of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), maximal dose, drug association, number of seizure-free patients, time to obtain control and recurrence after medication discontinuation]; complementary examinations (the first and the last EEG).

Results: The mean follow-up was 5.4 years for the 28 NC patients and 4.6 years for the 32 BE patients (p = 0.98). We did not find statistical differences between NC and BE in gender, family history, types of seizures, frequency and length of seizures, previous status epilepticus, seizure clustering, and presence of postictal deficits. However, we found that NC compared with BE patients had significant longer AED treatment, more seizures after AED introduction, tried more AEDs and at maximal dose, and in 20%, required polytherapy. The recurrence rate in NC was 54.4% and this was not significantly associated with number of lesions and disease activity seen on CT scans or the presence of EEG abnormalities.

Conclusions: NC presents with a mild form of epilepsy in terms of seizure severity; however, it is more challenging in regard to drug management and has a less favorable long-term prognosis in terms of seizure remission. The number of lesions or disease activity seen on computed tomography (CT) as well as EEG abnormalities have no prognostic value in childhood epilepsy due to NC.