Anticonvulsant prophylaxis for brain tumor surgery: determining the current best available evidence

A review

Eli T. Sayegh B.S., Shayan Fakurnejad B.S., Taemin Oh B.A., Orin Bloch M.D. and Andrew T. Parsa M.D., Ph.D.
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  • Department of Neurological Surgery, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
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Patients who undergo craniotomy for brain tumor resection are prone to experiencing seizures, which can have debilitating medical, neurological, and psychosocial effects. A controversial issue in neurosurgery is the common practice of administering perioperative anticonvulsant prophylaxis to these patients despite a paucity of supporting data in the literature. The foreseeable benefits of this strategy must be balanced against potential adverse effects and interactions with critical medications such as chemotherapeutic agents and corticosteroids. Multiple disparate metaanalyses have been published on this topic but have not been applied into clinical practice, and, instead, personal preference frequently determines practice patterns in this area of management. Therefore, to select the current best available evidence to guide clinical decision making, the literature was evaluated to identify meta-analyses that investigated the efficacy and/or safety of anticonvulsant prophylaxis in this patient population. Six meta-analyses published between 1996 and 2011 were included in the present study. The Quality of Reporting of Meta-analyses and Oxman-Guyatt methodological quality assessment tools were used to score these meta-analyses, and the Jadad decision algorithm was applied to determine the highest-quality meta-analysis. According to this analysis, 2 metaanalyses were deemed to be the current best available evidence, both of which conclude that prophylactic treatment does not improve seizure control in these patients. Therefore, this management strategy should not be routinely used.

Abbreviations used in this paper:AED = antiepileptic drug; QUOROM = Quality of Reporting of Meta-analyses; RCT = randomized controlled trial.

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Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to: Andrew T. Parsa, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Neurological Surgery, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 676 N. St. Clair St., Ste. 2210, Chicago, IL 60611. email: aparsa@nmff.org.

Please include this information when citing this paper: published online August 29, 2014; DOI: 10.3171/2014.7.JNS132829.

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