piracetam efficacy in breath-holding spells

Clinical efficacy of piracetam in treatment of breath-holding spells.

Donma MM.

Ministry of Health,
Bakirkoy State Hospital,
Clinics of Paediatrics, Istanbul, Turkey.
Pediatr Neurol 1998 Jan;18(1):41-5


To evaluate the efficacy of piracetam therapy, 76 children with breath-holding spells admitted to the Outpatient Clinic of Dicle University Medical Faculty Paediatrics Department and Bakirkoy State Hospital, Paediatrics Department between 1988 and 1990 and 1991 and 1996, respectively, were included in this placebo-controlled trial. Diagnosis of breath-holding spells was made for all cases by medical history, pediatric physical examination, electroencephalogram, and laboratory findings. Placebo or piracetam as suspension was administered to patients on a randomized basis; piracetam was administered to children in suspension 40 mg/kg/day in 2 divided doses for a period of 2 months. Of the 76 children enrolled, 39 received piracetam and 37 received placebo. Overall, control of breath-holding spells was observed in 92.3% of the patients in the group taking piracetam as compared with 29.7% in the group taking placebo (P < .05). No differences between the 2 groups in adverse events or side effects were observed. Complete blood count, biochemical profile, and urine analysis taken before and after treatment revealed no change from beginning to end and no difference between the 2 groups. It is suggested that piracetam is a safe and effective drug, with an incidence of side effects no different from that of placebo, for the treatment of breath-holding spells.