What are the possible complications of infantile spasm (West syndrome)?

Updated: Jan 11, 2019
  • Author: Tracy A Glauser, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen L Nelson, Jr, MD, PhD, FAACPDM, FAAN, FAAP  more...
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Complications of infantile spasms include dose-related, idiosyncratic, or long-term adverse effects from medications, including death. For example, valproate is associated with hepatotoxicity and pancreatitis, which are idiosyncratic effects. Lamotrigine can cause 2 other idiosyncratic effects; specifically, Steven-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis.

A retrospective review of 130 patients with infantile spasm found that patients treated with ACTH experienced a significant short-term weight gain and an increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressures, compared with patients on other AED therapies. There was no difference between the groups with respect to hospitalizations, infections, or onset of new seizure types. Medication changes secondary to persistent or recurrent infantile spasms were seen in 40% of patients treated with ACTH and in 51% of patients treated with other AEDs. [41]

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