Health Problem: Intractable epilepsy is diagnosed in 5% to 20% of pediatric patients with new-onset epilepsy. If uncontrolled, seizures in childhood may have a detrimental or even catastrophic impact on the developing brain. A connection has been made between inflammatory processes and neurological disease, including epilepsy, which may present new therapeutic approaches.

Technology Description: Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) is a purified blood product pooled from thousands of human blood donors. When provided in high doses, IVIG has an immunomodulatory effect, although its precise mechanism of action remains unclear. IVIG is increasingly being used as a therapeutic option for a variety of neurological autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, and has been proposed for the treatment of epilepsy.

Controversy: Seizure recurrence following a single unprovoked seizure in childhood is estimated at 50%. Consideration of the possibility of seizures becoming intractable, risk of cognitive impairment, and accident risk may prompt early and aggressive AED treatment.

Key Questions:

  • Is IVIG effective in treating pediatric patients with intractable epilepsy?
  • How does IVIG compare with alternatives for the treatment of intractable pediatric epilepsy?
  • Is IVIG safe in pediatric patients?
  • Have patient selection criteria been identified for IVIG for the treatment of pediatric patients with intractable epilepsy?

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