PRESS RELEASE: Global biopharmaceutical company UCB, Inc. and professional golfer Jeff Klauk announced the launch of a new Pledge campaign for people with epilepsy and their loved ones. The Pledge empowers the millions of Americans living with epilepsy to take a stand and make a personal commitment to demand more: greater understanding of the condition, better collaboration with their health care team and additional partial-onset seizure control. More information is available at www.ourtimeourpledge.com.
Epilepsy is a chronic neurological condition that affects 3 million Americans and 65 million people worldwide.1 Anyone can develop epilepsy; it occurs across all ages, races and genders. Even though one in three adults knows someone with the disorder, it remains among the least understood chronic medical conditions.
Jeff Klauk’s experience with epilepsy has been a winding journey, dating back to 2006 when he first began experiencing seizures. He had his first partial-onset seizure in 2010, but did not get an official epilepsy diagnosis until 2011. Klauk then began working with an epileptologist — a neurologist that specializes in epilepsy2 — to get additional control of the condition, and was started on a new treatment regimen that included the addition of the antiepileptic drug VIMPAT® (lacosamide) C-V to manage his partial-onset seizures. The most common adverse reactions reported with VIMPAT® include dizziness, headache, nausea, and double vision.
While Klauk’s partial-onset seizures are typically 30-second periods where he spaces out and chuckles, partial-onset seizures vary from person to person and can also present as twitching or a sudden emotional swing.
“Almost 60 percent of people who have seizures experience partial-onset seizures,3 and while some have trademark characteristics like Jeff’s that make them easier to identify, others might be barely perceptible, even to the person having them,” said Kelly Simontacchi, Ph.D., Medical Director, CNS at UCB. “Even the most subtle partial-onset seizures cannot and should not be taken lightly.”
A critical step for people experiencing partial-onset seizures may be to seek care from a specialist, who can help them manage their condition.
“My personal Pledge was going the extra mile to seek out the best health care team I could find and have the most productive conversations with them as possible,” said Klauk, whose first partial-onset seizure occurred as he was driving his family to church. “Epilepsy is not something to hide from. I encourage others affected by partial-onset seizures to speak candidly with their doctors and loved ones, and go online to take their own Pledge.”
UCB’s Pledge campaign isn’t just for those living with epilepsy. Caregivers, who are often on the front lines of epilepsy management with their loved ones, are also invited to take the Pledge.
“I took the Pledge for the one I love the most, and constantly strive to better understand the condition and how it impacts Jeff,” said Shanna Klauk, Jeff’s wife and the one he credits as his ‘anchor’ in helping him to manage his condition. “Standing outside Jeff’s condition gives me a perspective that he doesn’t have. The vantage point of a family member or loved one can be invaluable to someone living with epilepsy, both in the doctor’s office and in everyday life.”
UCB, a leader in epilepsy and the maker of VIMPAT®, an add-on medication used to treat partial-onset seizures in adults with epilepsy, is committed to transforming the lives of people living with severe diseases through conducting scientific research, developing treatments and creating programming for health care professionals and patients. The company’s latest initiative is a simple but important step in helping the epilepsy community obtain additional or improved seizure control and encourages the public to shift their mindset, take action and support a nationwide movement of people ready to do more. Pledges can range from improving communication, educating friends and family about epilepsy or encouraging others not to settle for their current level of seizure control. More information and tips for living the Pledge can be found online.
VIMPAT® (lacosamide) is a prescription medicine that is used with other medicines to treat partial onset seizures in people 17 years of age and older with epilepsy.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
VIMPAT® may not be for everyone. Ask your healthcare provider if VIMPAT® is right for you.
WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
Antiepileptic drugs, including VIMPAT®, may cause suicidal thoughts or actions in a very small number of people, about 1 in 500. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have new or worsening symptoms of depression, any unusual changes in mood or behavior, or suicidal thoughts, behavior, or thoughts about self-harm that you have never had before or may be worse than before.
Do not stop taking VIMPAT® without first talking to your healthcare provider. Stopping VIMPAT® suddenly can cause serious problems. Stopping seizure medicine suddenly in a patient who has epilepsy can cause seizures that will not stop.
VIMPAT® may also cause you to feel dizzy, have double vision, feel sleepy, or have problems with coordination and walking. You should not drive, operate machinery or do other dangerous activities until you know how VIMPAT® affects you.
VIMPAT® may cause you to have an irregular heartbeat or may cause you to feel faint. Call your healthcare provider if you have a fast, slow, or pounding heartbeat, shortness of breath, feel lightheaded, or if you fainted or feel like you are going to faint.
VIMPAT® is a federally controlled substance (C-V) because it can be abused or lead to drug dependence. Keep your VIMPAT® in a safe place to protect it from theft. Do not give it to anyone else, because it may harm them.
In rare cases, VIMPAT® may cause a serious allergic reaction that may affect your skin or other parts of your body such as your liver or blood cells. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have a skin rash or hives, fever or swollen glands that do not go away, shortness of breath, swelling of the legs, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, or dark urine.
Before taking VIMPAT®, tell your healthcare provider if you have or have had depression, mood problems, or suicidal thoughts or behavior; have heart, kidney or liver problems; have abused prescription medicines, street drugs or alcohol in the past, are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Common Adverse Reactions
In clinical trials, the most common side effects seen with VIMPAT® were dizziness, headache, nausea, and double vision.
Talk to your healthcare provider about other possible side effects with VIMPAT®. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Please see additional patient information in the Medication Guide at the end of the full prescribing information. This information does not take the place of talking with your healthcare provider about your condition or your treatment. Visit www.Vimpat.com for more information.
Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder affecting approximately 65 million people worldwide and 3 million people in the U.S.—making it more common than autism, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease combined. Anyone can develop epilepsy; it occurs across all ages, races and genders and is defined as two or more unprovoked seizures. Uncontrolled seizures and medication side effects pose challenges to independent living, learning and employment, so the goal of epilepsy treatment is seizure freedom with minimal side effects. More than 1 million patients in the U.S. continue to have seizures despite initial therapy, and more than 800,000 patients in the U.S. continue to have seizures despite treatment with two or more therapies. New medications and treatments give hope to those living with uncontrolled seizures.1,4
UCB, Brussels, Belgium (www.ucb.com) is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases of the immune system or of the central nervous system. With 9,000 people in approximately 40 countries, the company generated revenue of EUR 3.4 billion in 2012. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB).
For more information
1. http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/aboutepilepsy/whatisepilepsy/statistics.cfm accessed 3/16/13
2. Epilepsy Foundation. FIND A DOCTOR. http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/africanamerican/whatisepilepsy/Find-a-Doctor.cfm. Accessed April 3, 2013.
3. Vimpat. Understanding Partial-Onset Seizures. http://www.vimpat.com/partial-onset-seizures.aspx. Accessed April 8, 2013.
4. NINDS/NIH. Seizures and Epilepsy. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/epilepsy/detail_epilepsy.htm#196923109. Accessed April 3, 2013.