Background: In randomized controlled trials, add-on brivaracetam (BRV) reduced seizure frequency in patients with drug-resistant focal epilepsy. Studies performed in a naturalistic setting are a useful complement to characterize the drug profile. Objective: This multicentre study assessed the effectiveness and tolerability of adjunctive BRV in a large population of patients with focal epilepsy in the context of real-world clinical practice. Methods: The BRIVAFIRST (BRIVAracetam add-on First Italian netwoRk STudy) was a retrospective, multicentre study including adult patients prescribed adjunctive BRV. Patients with focal epilepsy and 12-month follow-up were considered. Main outcomes included the rates of seizure‐freedom, seizure response (≥ 50% reduction in baseline seizure frequency), and treatment discontinuation. The incidence of adverse events (AEs) was also considered. Analyses by levetiracetam (LEV) status and concomitant use of strong enzyme-inducing antiseizure medications (EiASMs) and sodium channel blockers (SCBs) were performed. Results: A total of 1029 patients with a median age of 45 years (33–56) was included. At 12 months, 169 (16.4%) patients were seizure-free and 383 (37.2%) were seizure responders. The rate of seizure freedom was 22.3% in LEV-naive patients, 7.1% in patients with prior LEV use and discontinuation due to insufficient efficacy, and 31.2% in patients with prior LEV use and discontinuation due to AEs (p < 0.001); the corresponding values for ≥ 50% seizure frequency reduction were 47.9%, 29.7%, and 42.8% (p < 0.001). There were no statistically significant differences in seizure freedom and seizure response rates by use of strong EiASMs. The rates of seizure freedom (20.0% vs. 16.6%; p = 0.341) and seizure response (39.7% vs. 26.9%; p = 0.006) were higher in patients receiving SCBs than those not receiving SCBs; 265 (25.8%) patients discontinued BRV. AEs were reported by 30.1% of patients, and were less common in patients treated with BRV and concomitant SCBs than those not treated with SCBs (28.9% vs. 39.8%; p = 0.017). Conclusion: The BRIVAFIRST provided real-world evidence on the effectiveness of BRV in patients with focal epilepsy irrespective of LEV history and concomitant ASMs, and suggested favourable therapeutic combinations.
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