Vigabatrin and Epilepsy: Lessons Learned


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. John M. Wild, Cardiff School of Optometry and Vision Science, Cardiff University, Redwood Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NB, United Kingdom. E-mail:


Summary: Purpose: The risk factors for visual field loss attributable to vigabatrin (VAVFL) are equivocal. This multinational, prospective, observational study aimed to clarify the principal/major factors for VAVFL.

Methods: Interim analysis of three groups with refractory partial epilepsy, stratified by age (8–12 years; >12 years) and exposure to vigabatrin (VGB). Group I comprised participants treated with VGB for ≥6 months, Group II participants previously treated with VGB for ≥6 months who had discontinued the drug for ≥6 months and Group III those never treated with VGB. Perimetry was undertaken at least every six months, for up to 36 months; results were evaluated masked to drug exposure.

Results: Based upon 563 participants in the locked data set, 432 yielded one or more Conclusive visual field examinations. For Group I, the frequency of VAVFL at the last Conclusive examination was 10/32 (31.2%) for those aged 8–12 years and 52/125 (41.6%) for those aged >12 years. For Group II, the proportions were 4/39 (10.3%) and 31/129 (24.0%). No cases resembling VAVFL manifested in Group III. VAVFL was associated with duration of VGB therapy (Odds ratio [OR] 14.2; 95% CI 5.0 to 40.5); mean dose of VGB (OR 8.5; 95% CI 2.2 to 33.2); and male gender (OR 2.1; 95% CI 1.2 to 3.7). VAVFL was more common with static than kinetic perimetry (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.3 to 4.2).

Conclusions: The therapeutic benefit of VGB is counteracted by the progressive accrual of the risk of VAVFL with continued exposure and with increase in mean dose.