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Ethosuximide was superior to valproate and lamotrigine in controlling seizures and minimising side effects

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Study design

Design

Randomised controlled trial.

Allocation

Computer-generated random schedule stratified by age and centre.

Blinding

Care givers and assessors blind to treatment. Blinded medications were prepared, based on body weight, at a central pharmacy and sent to the participants. Blinding of different preparations was maintained with a double dummy and overencapsulation approach.

Study question

Setting

32 outpatient sites in the USA.

Patients

453 children aged 2.5–13 years, with absence epilepsy as defined clinically and confirmed on EEG. Children with high body mass index, evidence of haematopoietic or liver dysfunction and girls who were post-menarchal were excluded.

Intervention

Patients were randomised to receive ethosuximide, valproic acid or lamotrigine, with escalation of doses over a 16-week period, with dose escalation and extension to 20 weeks if there were still …

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