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Pyridoxal phosphate is better than pyridoxine for controlling idiopathic intractable epilepsy
  1. H-S Wang1,
  2. M-F Kuo2,
  3. M-L Chou1,
  4. P-C Hung1,
  5. K-L Lin1,
  6. M-Y Hsieh1,
  7. M-Y Chang1
  1. 1Division of Pediatric Neurology, Chang Gung Children’s Hospital, and Medical College of Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan
  2. 2Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, National Taiwan University Hospital, and National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr M-F Kuo
    Division of (Pediatric) Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, National Taiwan University Hospital, 7 Chung-Shan S. Road, Taipei 100, Taiwan;


Aim: To study the difference between pyridoxine (PN) and its active form, pyridoxal phosphate, (PLP) in control of idiopathic intractable epilepsy in children.

Methods: Among 574 children with active epilepsy, 94 (aged 8 months to 15 years) were diagnosed with idiopathic intractable epilepsy for more than six months. All received intravenous PLP 10 mg/kg, then 10 mg/kg/day in four divided doses. If seizures recurred within 24 hours, another dose of 40 mg/kg was given, followed by 50 mg/kg/day in four divided doses. For those patients whose seizures were totally controlled, PLP was replaced by the same dose of oral PN. If the seizure recurred, intravenous PLP was infused followed by oral PLP 50 mg/kg/day.

Results: Fifty seven patients had generalised seizures (of whom 13 had infantile spasms) and 37 had focal seizure. Eleven had dramatic and sustained responses to PLP; of these, five also responded to PN. Within six months of treatment with PLP or PN, five of the 11 patients were seizure free and had their previous antiepileptic medicine tapered off gradually. Two were controlled with pyridoxine and the other three needed PLP to maintain seizure freedom. The remaining six responders needed PLP exclusively for seizure control. Six of the 11 responders to PLP had infantile spasms (46%); four of them needed PLP exclusively. The other five responders were in the remaining 81 patients with other seizure type.

Conclusions: PLP could replace PN in the treatment of intractable childhood epilepsy, particularly in the treatment of infantile spasms.

  • AED, antiepileptic drug
  • EEG, electroencephalography
  • GABA, gamma-aminobutyric acid
  • PDE, pyridoxine dependent epilepsy
  • PLP, pyridoxal phosphate
  • PN, pyridoxine
  • epilepsy
  • intractable epilepsy
  • pyridoxal phosphate
  • pyridoxine
  • vitamin B6

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  • Competing interests: none declared

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