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Optimal management of seizures associated with tuberous sclerosis complex: current and emerging options

Authors Wang S, Fallah A

Received 22 June 2014

Accepted for publication 21 July 2014

Published 23 October 2014 Volume 2014:10 Pages 2021—2030

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S51789

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Shelly Wang,1 Aria Fallah2,3

1Department of Neurosurgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; 2Department of Neurosurgery, Miami Children’s Hospital, Miami, FL, USA; 3Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada


Abstract: Seizures are clinically significant manifestations associated with 79%–90% of patients with tuberous sclerosis complex. Often occurring within the first year of life in the form of infantile spasms, seizures interfere with neuropsychiatric, social, and cognitive development and carry significant individual and societal consequences. Prompt identification and treatment of seizures is an important focus in the overall management of tuberous sclerosis complex patients. Medical management, either after seizure onset or prophylactically in infants with electroencephalographic abnormalities, is considered first-line therapy. Vigabatrin and adrenocorticotropic hormone have emerged over the past few decades as mainstay pharmacologic modalities. Furthermore, emerging research on mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors demonstrated promise for the management of seizures and subependymal giant cell astrocytoma. For appropriate surgical candidates with an epileptogenic zone associated with one or more glioneuronal hamartomas, ideally in noneloquent cortex, resective surgery can be considered, which provides a cure in 56% of patients. For medically refractory patients who do not meet criteria for curative surgery, palliative surgical approaches focused on reducing seizure burden, in the form of corpus callosotomy and vagus nerve stimulation, are alternative management options. Lastly, the ketogenic diet, a reemerging therapy based on the anticonvulsant effects of ketone bodies, can be utilized independently or in conjunction with other treatment modalities for the management of difficult-to-treat seizures.

Keywords: epilepsy, adrenocorticotropic hormone, vigabatrin, mammalian target of rapamycin, ketogenic diet, vagus nerve stimulation

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