Cognitive Effects of Levetiracetam versus Topiramate


  • Kimford J. Meador MD


Gomer B, Wagner K, Frings L, Saar J, Carius A, Härle M, Steinhoff BJ, Schulze-Bonhage A. Epilepsy Behav 2007;10(3):486–494. Levetiracetam (LEV) and topiramate (TPM) are considered highly effective novel antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in the treatment of focal epilepsies. To explore potential side effects, this study investigated their influence on cognitive functions comparatively by means of a standardized neuropsychological test battery assessing several cognitive domains. In this observational study, cognitive changes were explored in 30 consecutively recruited patients with focal epilepsy treated with LEV and in 21 patients treated with TPM, comparing functions assessed prior to gradual initiation and after reaching steady state of the individual target dosage. Before titration, patient groups did not differ significantly with respect to cognitive performance. Whereas the LEV group manifested no change in cognitive performance after AED titration, the TPM group worsened in the cognitive domains of cognitive speed and verbal fluency, as well as short-term memory. These findings suggest that TPM, unlike LEV, may impair frontal lobe functions. The lack of cognitive side effects related to LEV treatment may be relevant for treatment decisions.