Introduction: The withdrawal of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in World Health Organization (WHO) grade II-III glioma patients with epilepsy is controversial, as the presence of a symptomatic lesion is often related to an increased risk of seizure relapse. However, some glioma patients may achieve long-term seizure freedom after antitumor treatment, raising questions about the necessity to continue AEDs, particularly when patients experience serious drug side effects.
Areas covered: In this review, we show the evidence in the literature from 1990-2016 for AED withdrawal in glioma patients. We put this issue into the context of risk factors for developing seizures in glioma, adverse effects of AEDs, seizure outcome after antitumor treatment, and outcome after AED withdrawal in patients with non-brain tumor related epilepsy.
Expert commentary: There is currently scarce evidence of the feasibility of AED withdrawal in glioma patients. AED withdrawal could be considered in patients with grade II-III glioma with a favorable prognosis, who have achieved stable disease and long-term seizure freedom. The potential benefits of AED withdrawal need to be carefully weighed against the presumed risk of seizure recurrence in a shared decision-making process by both the clinical physician and the patient.