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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 18, Issue 3, Pages 165-170

Comparison of Motor Activity and Sleep in Patients with Complex Partial Seizures on Levetiracetam Treatment and a Group of Healthy Subjects

Hikmet Yilmaz

Section of Epilepsy and Sleep Disorders, Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, Celal Bayar University, Manisa, Turkey

Received 14 August 2007; Accepted 14 August 2007

Copyright © 2007 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose: Levetiracetam-treated patients commonly report daytime drowsiness, fatique, asthenia and decreasing of motor activity. However the origin of these reported side effects are still debated, we aimed to clarify effect of levetiracetam on sleep. Therefore this prospective study was conducted to evaluate the effects of levetiracetam on motor activity, amount and continuity of sleep and napping.

Methods: Various tests were performed on twenty two patients treated with levetiracetam (10 monotherapy, 12 add-on therapy) at least three days before the initiation of treatment, and consecutively for five to eight days at the third week of treatment. These tests included sleep logs, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, Modified Maintenance of Wakefulness Test and actimetric measurements. In order to evaluate the sleep behavior of these patients the following sleep parameters were estimated: bedtime, wake-up time, sleep-onset time, sleep-offset time, sleep latency, total sleep time, wake time after sleep onset, fragmentation index, total activity score, nap episodes, total nap duration and sleep efficiency. Twenty members of staff from our hospital (Doctor, nurse, secretary, civil servant etc.) were evaluated as control subjects in the study.

Results: After three-week treatment with levetiracetam (in particular with add-on therapy), Epworth Sleepiness Scale scores, napping episodes and total nap durations increased and sleep latencies decreased. While durations of Modified Maintenance of Wakefulness Test and total activity scores decreased. However the total sleep time and the sleep efficiency did not show any difference from the pre-treatment values.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that levetiracetam leads to drowsiness by decreasing the daily motor activity and increasing the naps; however this agent does not have any major effects on total sleep time and sleep efficiency during night. Actimetric analyses give information about continuity of sleep and sleep/wake states however does not give satisfactory information about architecture of sleep. In order to determine the effects of levetiracetam on the sleep architecture we need similiar protocol studies by full night polysomnography.