Author(s): Panebianco M.; Bresnahan R.; Marson A.G.; Hemming K.
Source: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews; Jul 2019; vol. 2019 (no. 7)
Publication Date: Jul 2019
Publication Type(s): Review
Available at Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews – from Cochrane Collaboration (Wiley)
Abstract:Background Epilepsy is a common neurological disease that affects approximately 1% of the UK population. Approximately one-third of these people continue to have seizures despite drug treatment. Pregabalin is one of the newer antiepileptic drugs which have been developed to improve outcomes. This is an updated version of the Cochrane Review published in Issue 3, 2014, and includes three new studies. Objectives To assess the efficacy and tolerability of pregabalin when used as an add-on treatment for drug-resistant focal epilepsy. Search methods For the latest update we searched the Cochrane Register of Studies (CRS Web), which includes the Cochrane Epilepsy Group Specialized Register and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), on 5 July 2018, MEDLINE (Ovid, 1946 to 5 July 2018), ClinicalTrials.gov (5 July 2018), and the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP, 5 July 2018), and contacted Pfizer Ltd, manufacturer of pregabalin, to identify published, unpublished, and ongoing trials. Selection criteria We included randomised controlled trials comparing pregabalin with placebo or an alternative antiepileptic drug as an add-on for people of any age with drug-resistant focal epilepsy. Double-blind and single-blind trials were eligible for inclusion. The primary outcome was 50% or greater reduction in seizure frequency; secondary outcomes were seizure freedom, treatment withdrawal for any reason, treatment withdrawal due to adverse effects, and proportion of individuals experiencing adverse effects. Data collection and analysis Two review authors independently selected and assessed trials for eligibility and extracted data. Analyses were by intention-to-treat. We presented results as risk ratios (RR) and odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Two review authors assessed the included studies for risk of bias using the Cochrane ‘Risk of bias’ tool. Main results We included nine industry-sponsored randomised controlled trials (3327 participants) in the review. Seven trials compared pregabalin to placebo. For the primary outcome, participants randomised to pregabalin were significantly more likely to attain a 50% or greater reduction in seizure frequency compared to placebo (RR 2.28, 95% CI 1.52 to 3.42, 7 trials, 2193 participants, low-certainty evidence). The odds of response doubled with an increase in dose from 300 mg/day to 600 mg/day (OR 1.99, 95% CI 1.74 to 2.28), indicating a dose-response relationship. Pregabalin was significantly associated with seizure freedom (RR 3.94, 95% CI 1.50 to 10.37, 4 trials, 1125 participants, moderate-certainty evidence). Participants were significantly more likely to withdraw from pregabalin treatment than placebo for any reason (RR 1.35, 95% CI 1.11 to 1.65, 7 trials, 2193 participants, moderate-certainty evidence) and for adverse effects (RR 2.65, 95% CI 1.88 to 3.74, 7 trials, 2193 participants, moderate-certainty evidence). Three trials compared pregabalin to three active-control drugs: lamotrigine, levetiracetam, and gabapentin. Participants allocated to pregabalin were significantly more likely to achieve a 50% or greater reduction in seizure frequency than those allocated to lamotrigine (RR 1.47, 95% CI 1.03 to 2.12, 1 trial, 293 participants) but not those allocated to levetiracetam (RR 0.94, 95% CI 0.80 to 1.11, 1 trial, 509 participants) or gabapentin (RR 0.96, 95% CI 0.82 to 1.12, 1 trial, 484 participants). We found no significant differences between pregabalin and lamotrigine (RR 1.39, 95% CI 0.40 to 4.83) for seizure freedom, however, significantly fewer participants achieved seizure freedom with add-on pregabalin compared to levetiracetam (RR 0.50, 95% CI 0.30 to 0.85). No data were reported for this outcome for pregabalin versus gabapentin. We found no significant differences between pregabalin and lamotrigine (RR 1.07, 95% CI 0.75 to 1.52), levetiracetam (RR 1.03, 95% CI 0.71 to 1.49), or gabapentin (RR 0.78, 95% CI 0.57 to 1.07) for treatment withdrawal due to any reason or due to adverse effects (pregabalin versus lamotrigine: RR 0.89, 95% CI 0.53 to 1.48; versus levetiracetam: RR 1.29, 95% CI 0.66 to 2.54; versus gabapentin: RR 1.07, 95% CI 0.54 to 2.11). Ataxia, dizziness, somnolence, weight gain, and fatigue were significantly associated with pregabalin. We rated the overall risk of bias in the included studies as low or unclear due to the possibility of publication bias and lack of methodological details provided. We rated the certainty of the evidence as very low to moderate using the GRADE approach. Authors’ conclusions Pregabalin, when used as an add-on drug for treatment-resistant focal epilepsy, is significantly more effective than placebo at producing a 50% or greater seizure reduction and seizure freedom. Results demonstrated efficacy for doses from 150 mg/day to 600 mg/day, with increasing effectiveness at 600 mg doses, however issues with tolerability were noted at higher doses. The trials included in this review were of short duration, and longer-term trials are needed to inform clinical decision making.
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