The comparison of levetiracetam and piracetam effectiveness on breath-holding spells in children: A randomized controlled clinical trial

Document Type : Original Article


1 Child Growth and Development Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

2 Department of Pediatrics, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran


Background: We aimed to compare the effectiveness of Levetiracetam and Piracetam on the severity and frequency of spells in children with severe breath-holding spells (BHS), i.e. bening, paroxysmal, and nonepileptic events that are common in early childhood. Materials and Methods: This study is a randomized controlled clinical trial in 71 children from 6 months to 6 years of age with BHS. They were randomly assigned to the two study groups (Levetiracetam and Piracetam group). The frequency and severity of BHS and the response to treatment were recorded on monthly visits during our 3 months follow-up. Results: There was a significant decline in the average number of frequency of spells before and after 3 months of treatment in each group in this study. Levetiracetam had significant effects on the average incidence of the loss of consciousness and seizure-like movements in our study, while Piracetam had no significant effect on the loss of consciousness. Our result showed better response in the Levetiracetam group (88.9% partial or complete response after treatment) compared with the Piracetam group (77.1% partial or complete response after treatment); however, it was not significant. It seems that Levetiracetam had better effect than Piracetam in some aspects in the treatment of BHS. Conclusions: Both Piracetam and Levetiracetam are safe and had significant effects on the frequency of BHS in our study, however, levetiracetam showed superior effects on the severity of BHS.


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