Recommended treatments are best for infantile spasms

Published by: Cornell Chronicle
Written by: Jane Langille

Children with infantile spasms, a rare form of epileptic seizures, should be treated with one of three recommended therapies and the use of nonstandard therapies should be strongly discouraged, according to a study of their effectiveness by a Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian investigator and collaborating colleagues in the Pediatric Epilepsy Research Consortium.

Early treatment with an effective therapy is important for improving neurodevelopmental outcomes and, for some children, can result in permanent remission of epilepsy.

The study, published July 15 in Neurology, underscored a strong preference for treating infantile spasms with adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) or oral steroids (typically prednisolone), which the researchers calculated were similarly effective: The%ages of children who had no further seizures after 30 days of starting initial therapy and did not require a second treatment were 46% for ACTH and 44% for oral steroids. By contrast, the estimated effectiveness of non-standard therapies (such as topiramate) was only 8%.

“The side effects of hormonal therapies like ACTH and steroids can be rough on families, which is why some may shy away from them,” said first author Dr. Zachary Grinspan, interim chief of child neurology and director of the pediatric epilepsy program at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital. “But our research and other studies have shown that nonstandard therapies are ineffective for treating infantile spasms.” Click here to read the rest of the story.

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