Efficacy of treatments for infantile spasms: A systematic review

Ji Min Song, Jongsung Hahn, Se Hee Kim, Min Jung Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives:West syndrome (also known as infantile spasm because of its main seizure type) is a rare form of epilepsy that begins during early infancy. Recent guidelines and reviews on West syndrome recommend the use of adrenocorticotropic hormone steroids, or vigabatrin, as the firstline treatment. However, West syndrome remains to be one of the most challenging epilepsies to treat. Here, we systematically reviewed the current literature obtained during the previous decade. This article provides an overview of the current treatment of infantile spasms. Methods: PubMed and EMBASE were searched to retrieve studies on human published during 2005-2015 and to identify patients with clinical diagnosis of infantile spasms. Drug or diet treatments were used as interventions and comparators. Results: We included 55 studies, of which 1 study was a meta-analysis, 9 were randomized controlled trials, 21 were prospective studies, and 24 were retrospective studies. Topiramate, levetiracetam, zonisamide, and sodium valproate with benzodiazepine (clonazepam or nitrazepam) were found to be potential drugs for treatingWest syndrome besides adrenocorticotropic hormone, steroids, and vigabatrin. Ketogenic diet and modified Atkins diet were also found to be effective. Conclusions: To date, data regarding the efficacy of treatments of West syndrome still remain limited. Some treatments, including topiramate and ketogenic diet, seem promising besides adrenocorticotropic hormone, steroids, and vigabatrin.Well-designed trials are warranted to validate the findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-84
Number of pages22
JournalClinical Neuropharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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