European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 171, Issue 7, pp 1063–1067 | Cite as

Double-blind, placebo-controlled trial on the effect of piracetam on breath-holding spells

  • Happy SawiresEmail author
  • Osama Botrous
Original Article


Breath-holding spells (BHS) are apparently frightening events occurring in otherwise healthy children. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of piracetam in the treatment of breath-holding spells. Forty patients with BHS (who were classified into two groups) were involved in a double-blinded placebo-controlled prospective study. Piracetam was given to group A while group B received placebo. Patients were followed monthly for a total period of 4 months. The numbers of attacks/month before and monthly after treatment were documented, and the overall number of attacks/month after treatment was calculated in both groups. The median number of attacks/month before treatment in the two groups was 5.5 and 5, respectively, while after the first month of treatment, it was 2 and 5, respectively. The median overall number of attacks/month after treatment in both groups was 1 and 5, respectively. There was a significant decline of number of attacks after piracetam treatment compared to placebo (p value < 0.001). There were no reported side effects of the piracetam throughout the study period. In conclusion, piracetam is a safe and effective drug for the treatment of breath-holding spells in children.


Piracetam Breath-holding spells Pallid spells Cyanotic spells 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PediatricsCairo UniversityCairoEgypt
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsBeni-Suef UniversityBeni-SuefEgypt

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