Antiepileptic drug management in pediatric patients with brain tumor-related epilepsy


Background: Patients with brain tumor-related epilepsy (BTRE) are at a higher risk of significant morbidity, lower quality of life, and increased risk of mortality. We surveyed providers regarding anti-seizure medication (ASM) management in pediatric BTRE to determine if practices are standard or markedly variable. Methods: An anonymous voluntary online survey was sent to members of the Child Neurology Society. Providers were asked specific questions regarding initiation and wean of ASMs and if this was dependent on multiple factors. Demographic information was collected. Results: Fifty-one providers responded to the survey. Ninety-four percent of providers would start an ASM after a second seizure. Eighty-four percent chose levetiracetam as the preferred ASM. Management was variable when based on tumor location, extent of surgical resection, pathology, and tumor prognosis. Statistically significant differences in responses regarding management were identified when comparing neurologists and epileptologists, providers with formal neuro-oncology or epilepsy training, providers at large institutions, and years of experience. For patients who underwent a gross total resection of the tumor, neuro-oncology and epilepsy-trained providers were more likely to wean off ASMs (p < 0.049). Providers without formal training in neuro-oncology or epilepsy were more likely to get an EEG prior to making a decision about weaning off ASMs (p < 0.016). Conclusion: These results suggest that ASM management in BTRE varies greatly according to sub-specialty and experience. Further studies and potential development of guidelines are needed to identify the most appropriate management of ASMs for BTRE.

Publication Title

Epilepsy and Behavior