Drug load and memory during intracarotid amobarbital procedure in epilepsy


Anti-seizure medications (ASMs) have been related to poor cognitive function, but their relationship with intracarotid amobarbital procedure (IAP) results remains unclear.

Aims of the Study

To elucidate whether the number and drug load of ASMs are associated with memory scores of the IAP and the neuropsychological assessment.


Fifty-nine adult patients with drug-resistant epilepsy (mean age = 36.1, SD = 11.6) underwent bilateral IAP (with drawings and words as memory items) and a neuropsychological assessment to assess the risk of post-surgical memory decline. Total ASM drug load was calculated by summing the daily dose/defined daily dose ratio of every ASM of each patient. Pearson’s correlations and hierarchical regressions were computed.


Total IAP memory score was associated with total ASM drug load (r = −0.30, p = 0.02) and seizure frequency (r = −0.25, p = 0.05). After controlling clinical variables, total ASM drug load explained 16% of the variance of total IAP memory score. This relationship was especially prominent in patients with left hemisphere focus (r = −0.33, p = 0.04). The number of current ASMs was not related to IAP memory score (r = −0.16, p = 0.24). The number or drug load of ASMs were not related to neuropsychological assessment results (for all, p > 0.07).


Our findings suggest that total drug load can be a confounding variable in the IAP memory performance that could explain, at least in part, the reverse asymmetries reported in different studies.

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