Efficacy and safety of levetiracetam in children with epilepsy: protocol for an umbrella review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials.

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Efficacy and safety of levetiracetam in children with epilepsy: protocol for an umbrella review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials.

BMJ Open. 2019 Jul 10;9(7):e029811

Authors: Gan J, Ma D, Xiong T

Abstract
INTRODUCTION: Epilepsy causes serious suffering in children and is associated with high morbidity and increased mortality. It impairs children’s quality of life and places a heavy burden on healthcare resources. Levetiracetam has been used to prevent and treat paediatric epilepsy for years. To date, a number of systematic reviews have been performed to assess the efficacy and safety of levetiracetam in a variety of clinical settings. Conflicting outcomes have been reported for the same clinical issues. Our objective is to provide a comprehensive overview of the literature for clinicians and policymakers via an umbrella review that assesses the efficacy and safety of levetiracetam in children with epilepsy.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We will follow the Joanna Briggs Institute’s guidelines for umbrella reviews and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement. The following seven databases will be searched from 1990 to February 2019: PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, JBISRIR, EPPI, Epistemonikos and PROSPERO. We will provide evidence from existing systematic reviews and meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials regarding the use of levetiracetam in children with epilepsy. The intervention of interest is levetiracetam monotherapy and add-on therapies for prevention or treatment purposes. Studies will be individually selected and assessed by two reviewers. The primary outcomes of interest are epilepsy control, the efficacy of prophylaxis for provoked seizures and the mortality rate of children with epilepsy who received levetiracetam treatment. The secondary outcomes are adverse events and withdrawal rates due to adverse effects. The methodological quality of all reviews will be individually assessed by two reviewers using the ‘A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews’ instrument. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation assessment will be applied to evaluate the quality of evidence for each outcome of interest. A narrative description of an analysis of the systematic reviews will be tabulated to address objective and specific questions. Information from each review will be detailed in a table including the population, number of studies, total number of participants, year range of the trials, study designs of the primary trials, countries and settings of the trials, heterogeneity of results and assessment tools. Recommendations regarding each outcome of levetiracetam will be categorised based on a protocol.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This umbrella review will inform clinical and policy decisions regarding the efficacy and safety of levetiracetam for preventing and treating paediatric epilepsy. The results will be disseminated through a peer-reviewed publication and conference presentations. Ethical approval is not required for this study.

PMID: 31296513 [PubMed – in process]