Effect of levetiracetam monotherapy on background EEG activity and cognition in drug-naïve epilepsy patients

Jounhong Ryan Cho, Dae Lim Koo, Eun Yeon Joo, So Mi Yoon, Eunji Ju, James Lee, Dae Young Kim, Seung Bong Hong

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Objective: To investigate the cognitive effect of levetiracetam (LEV) monotherapy with quantitative electroencephalogram (EEG) analysis and neuropsychological (NP) tests. Methods: Twenty-two drug-naïve epilepsy patients were enrolled. EEG recordings were performed before and after LEV therapy. Relative power of discrete frequency bands was computed, as well as alpha peak frequency (APF) at occipital electrodes. Eighteen patients performed a battery of NP tests twice across LEV treatment. Results: LEV therapy decreased the power of delta (1-3. Hz, p< 0.01) and theta (3-7. Hz, p< 0.05) bands and increased that of alpha-2 (10-13. Hz, p< 0.05) and beta-2 (19-24. Hz, p< 0.05) bands. Region-specific spectral change was observed: delta power change was significant in fronto-polar region, theta in anterior region, alpha-2 in broad region, and beta-2 in left fronto-central region. APF change was not significant. Improvement in diverse NP tests requiring attention, working memory, language and executive function was observed. Change in theta, alpha-2, and beta-2 power was correlated with improvement in several NP tests. Conclusions: Our data suggest LEV is associated with acceleration of background EEG frequencies and improved cognitive function. Change in frequency band power could predict improvement in several cognitive domains across LEV therapy. Significance: Combined study of quantitative EEG analysis and NP tests can be useful in identifying cognitive effect of antiepileptic drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-891
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2012


  • Antiepileptic drugs
  • Cognitive function
  • EEG
  • Levetiracetam
  • Quantitative analysis

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