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Bayer, Otmar; Bremova, Tatiana; Strupp, Michael; Huefner, Katharina (2018): A randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial (Vestparoxy) of the treatment of vestibular paroxysmia with oxcarbazepine. In: Journal of Neurology, Vol. 265, No. 2: pp. 291-298
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Abstract

Vestibular paroxysmia (VP) is characterized by short, often oligosymptomatic attacks of vertigo which occur spontaneously or are sometimes provoked by turning the head. Despite the description of the disease almost 40 years ago (first termed "disabling positional vertigo"), no controlled treatment trial has been published to date. The Vestparoxy trial was designed as a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind cross-over trial to examine the therapeutic effect of oxcarbazepine (OXA) in patients with definite or probable VP. Patients were recruited from August 2005 to December 2011 in the outpatient Dizziness Unit of the Department of Neurology of the Munich University Hospital, and randomized to receive OXA (first week: 300 mg once per day, second week: 300 mg b.i.d., third week: 300 mg t.i.d. until the end of the third month), followed by placebo or vice versa with a 1-month wash-out period in between. The primary endpoint was the number of days with one or more attacks. Secondary endpoints were the number of attacks during the observed days, and the median (for each day) duration of attacks. All these endpoints were assessed using standardized diaries collected at the end of each treatment phase. Forty-three patients were randomized, 18 patients provided usable data (2525 patient days) for at least one treatment phase and were included in the main (intention-to-treat) analysis. The most common reasons for discontinuation documented were adverse events. The risk of experiencing a day with at least one attack was 0.41 under OXA, and 0.62 under placebo treatment, yielding a relative risk of 0.67 (95% CI 0.47-0.95, p = 0.025). The number of attacks during the observed days ratio was 0.53 (95% CI 0.42-0.68, p < 0.001) under OXA compared to placebo. Median attack duration was 4 s (Q25: 2 s, Q75: 120 s) under OXA, and 3 s (Q25: 2 s, Q75: 60 s) under placebo treatment. When days with no attacks, i.e., duration = 0, were included in the analysis, these figures changed to 0 (Q25: 0, Q75: 3 s), and 2 (Q25: 0, Q75: 6 s). No serious adverse events or new safety findings were identified during the trial. The Vestparoxy trial showed a significant reduction of VP attacks under OXA compared to placebo treatment, confirming the known and revealing no new side effects.