Withdrawal of antiepileptic drugs in patients with low grade and anaplastic glioma after long-term seizure freedom: a prospective observational study

M. Kerkhof, J. A. F. Koekkoek, M. J. Vos, M. J. van den Bent, W. Taal, T. J. Postma, J. E. C. Bromberg, M. C. M. Kouwenhoven, L. Dirven, J. C. Reijneveld, M. J. B. Taphoorn

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Background: When glioma patients experience long-term seizure freedom the question arises whether antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) should be continued. As no prospective studies exist on seizure recurrence in glioma patients after AED withdrawal, we evaluated the decision-making process to withdraw AEDs in glioma patients, and seizure outcome after withdrawal. Methods: Patients with a histologically confirmed low grade or anaplastic glioma were included. Eligible patients were seizure free ≥ 1 year from the date of last antitumor treatment, or ≥ 2 years since the last seizure when seizures occurred after the end of the last antitumor treatment. Patients and neuro-oncologists made a shared decision on the preferred AED treatment (i.e. AED withdrawal or continuation). Primary outcomes were: (1) outcome of the shared decision-making process and (2) rate of seizure recurrence. Results: Eighty-three patients fulfilled all eligibility criteria. However, in 12/83 (14%) patients, the neuro-oncologist had serious objections to AED withdrawal. Therefore, 71/83 (86%) patients were analyzed; In 46/71 (65%) patients it was decided to withdraw AED treatment. In the withdrawal group, 26% (12/46) had seizure recurrence during follow-up. Seven of these 12 patients (58%) had tumor progression, of which three within 3 months after seizure recurrence. In the AED continuation group, 8% (2/25) of patients had seizure recurrence of which one had tumor progression. Conclusion: In 65% of patients a shared decision was made to withdraw AEDs, of which 26% had seizure recurrence. AED withdrawal should only be considered in carefully selected patients with a presumed low risk of tumor progression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-470
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuro-Oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • Antiepileptic drugs
  • Epilepsy
  • Glioma
  • Withdrawal

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