We systematically compared the effects of prophylactic anticonvulsant drug use in patients with traumatic brain injury. We searched four electronic databases from their inception until July 13, 2021. Two researchers independently screened, appraised, and extracted the included studies. Network meta-analysis using multivariate random effects and a frequentist framework was adopted for data analysis. The risk of bias of each study was assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool, and confidence in evidence was assessed through confidence in network meta-analysis (CINeMA). A total of 11 randomized controlled trials involving 2,450 participants and six different treatments (i.e., placebo, carbamazepine, phenytoin, levetiracetam, valproate, and magnesium sulfate) were included. We found that anticonvulsant drugs as a whole significantly reduced early posttraumatic seizures (PTS) but not late PTS compared with placebo (odd ratios [ORs] = 0.42 and 0.82, 95% confidence intervals [CIs] = 0.21-0.82 and 0.47-1.43). For the findings of network meta-analysis, we observed that phenytoin (ORs = 0.43 and 0.71; 95% CIs = 0.18-1.01 and 0.23-2.20), levetiracetam (ORs = 0.56 and 1.58; 95% CIs = 0.12-2.55 and 0.03-84.42), and carbamazepine (ORs = 0.29 and 0.64; 95% CIs = 0.07-1.18 and 0.08-5.28) were more likely to reduce early and late PTS compared with placebo; however, the treatment effects were not significant. Sensitivity analysis, after excluding a study enrolling only children, revealed that phenytoin had a significant effect in preventing early PTS (OR = 0.33; 95% CI = 0.14-0.78). Our findings indicate that no antiepileptic drug had an effect on early or late PTS superior to that of another; however, the sensitivity analysis revealed that phenytoin might prevent early PTS. Additional studies with large sample sizes and a rigorous design are required to obtain high-quality evidence on prophylactic anticonvulsant drug use in patients with traumatic brain injury.
ASJC Scopus subject areas