Effects of Piracetam on Pediatric Breath Holding Spells: A Randomized Double Blind Controlled Trial




How to cite this article:Abbaskhanian A, Ehteshami S, Sajjadi S, Rezai MS. Effects of Piracetam on Pediatric Breath Holding Spells: A Randomized Double Blind Controlled Trial. Iran J Child Neurol Autumn 2012; 6(4): 9-15.




Breath holding spells (BHS) are common paroxysmal non-epileptic eventsin the pediatric population which are very stressfull despite their harmlessnature. There has been no specific treatment found for the spells yet. The aimof this study was to evaluate the efficacy of piracetam (2-oxo-l-pyrrolidine)on these children.

Materials & Methods

In this randomized double blind clinical trial study, 150 children with severe BHS referred to our pediatric outpatient service were enrolled from August2011 to July 2012. The patients were randomized into two equal groups.One received 40mg/kg/day piracetam and the other group received placebo,twice daily. Patients were followed monthly for three months. The numberof attacks/month before and after treatment were documented.


Of the enrolled patients, 86 were boys. The mean age of the patients was17 months (range, 6 to 24 months). In the piracetam group, 1 month after treatment an 81% response to treatment was found. In the placebo group,none of the patients had complete remission and 7% of the cases had partialremission. Overall, control of breath-holding spells was observed in 91%of the patients in the group taking piracetam as compared with 16% in the group taking placebo at the end of the study. There wasd nosignificant difference detected between the groups regarding the prevalenceof drug side effects.


A significant difference was detected between piracetam and placebo in prevention and controlling BHS. Piracetam (40mg/kg/day) had a good effecton our patients.



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Piracetam; Breath-holding spells; Placebo; Treatment

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22037/ijcn.v6i4.3915


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