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Keywords:

  • pediatric migraine;
  • levetiracetam;
  • antiepileptic drug

Background.—Headache is a frequent occurrence among children and adolescents. Chronic headaches can be severe and disabling, and require prophylactic treatment; however, additional data on the use of prophylactic medications for migraine in children are needed.

Objective.—To review the efficacy and safety of levetiracetam (Keppra) in pediatric patients with a history of recurrent headache.

Design/Methods.—Data from 19 pediatric patients were retrospectively reviewed. The initial dose of levetiracetam was usually 125 or 250 mg twice daily, but varied depending upon clinical judgment.

Results.—Charts of 9 girls and 10 boys (mean age, 11.9 years) were reviewed. A variety of medications, including triptans, had been used before initiating treatment with levetiracetam. Mean headache frequency before treatment was 6.3 per month (standard deviation [SD], 3.8; confidence interval [CI], 4.4 to 8.1). Duration of headaches ranged from 0.25 to 8 years. Migraine (63.2%) and migraine with aura (15.8%) were the most common types of headache reported. Most patients (89.5%) had headaches that were severe. After treatment, the mean headache frequency decreased to 1.7 per month (SD, 2.7; CI, 0.4 to 3.0), representing a reduction compared with baseline (P < .0001). Levetiracetam eliminated headaches in 10 patients (52.6%), and 7 patients (36.8%) had less severe and less frequent headaches. Levetiracetam did not have an effect on headaches in 2 patients (10.5%). Mean duration of treatment with levetiracetam was 4.1 months. Doses ranged from 125 to 750 mg twice daily. Sixteen patients (84.2%) reported no side effects on levetiracetam. One patient experienced asthenia/somnolence and dizziness, and irritable, hyperactive, and hostile behavior led to discontinuation of levetiracetam in another patient. A third patient experienced irritability and moodiness that attenuated after 1 month of treatment and did not require discontinuation.

Conclusions.—In this small retrospective review, levetiracetam was found to be generally well tolerated and appears to be a promising candidate for additional evaluation in well-controlled clinical trials of pediatric patients with migraine.