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Breakthrough: Identifying Effect of Epilepsy Treatment

Breakthrough: Identifying Effect of Epilepsy Treatment
A simple amoeba has helped Scientist identify how Valproate blocks seizures.

A simple amoeba has helped Scientists identify how Valproate blocks seizures.

50 years after valproate was first discovered, research published today in the journal Neurobiology of Disease, reports how the drug works to block seizure progression.

Valproate (variously labelled worldwide as Epilim, Depacon, Depakene, Depakote, Orlept, Episenta, Orfiril, and Convulex) is one of the world’s most highly prescribed treatments for epilepsy. It was first discovered to be an effective treatment for epilepsy, by accident, in 1963 by a group of French scientists. In thousands of subsequent experiments, animals have been used to investigate how valproate blocks seizures, without success. Scientists from Royal Holloway and University College London have now identified how valproate blocks seizures in the brain, by using a simple amoeba.

“The discovery of how valproate blocks seizures, initially using the social amoeba Dictyostelium, and then replicated using accepted seizure models, highlights the successful use of non-animal testing in biomedical research,” said Professor Robin Williams from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway.

“Sodium valproate is one of the most effective antiepileptic drugs in many people with epilepsy, but its use has been limited by side-effects, in particular its effect in pregnant women on the unborn child,” said Professor Matthew Walker from the Institute of Neurology at University College London. “Understanding valproate’s mechanism of action is a first step to developing even more effective drugs that lack many of valproate’s side-effects.

“Our study also found that the decrease of a specific chemical in the brain at the start of the seizure causes even more seizure activity. This holds important implications for identifying underlying causes,” added Professor Williams.

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  1. I took this for several years. It helped for awhile like all of the others have. I have been taking Keppra for several years now and have been seizure free 2 years now!

  2. I took it as well..worked for a while then they had to switch me to..I now take trileptal and vimpat and I also have a vns..so it would be nice to become seizure free.

  3. Deborah Parker…what has been your personal experience with Keppra? I ask because my son (8yrs old) has been on it since Feb, he has not been diagnosed with Epilepsy, but for now it’s being called a seizure disorder, he had a couple seizures in Feb (which was the beginning of this journey)& since has been on Keppra & fortunately has not had any break thru seizures!!! Praise Jesus!! But, I have read Keppra’s side effects & they are kinda scary…mainly the mood altering stuff…because he is so young it’s hard to tell between being a regular moody 7/8yr old boy or if it’s the medicine??? This is all new to me & hopefully something his little brain will grow out of…his EEG have been good since with no activity 🙂 but they still want to keep him on meds for now…his seizures were the type where he would blank out…no convulsions….scary all the same!!! Any help is greatly appreciated!!!!

    • My daughter has been on keppra for 6 years now. I would have to say keppra is one of the better ones. The side effects of keppra are mininal compared to the other options out there. I have been helping my daughter battle epilepsy since 3yrs old. (Now 11)We have tried most everything known to man depakote included. Like everything else it helped for a while then quit. She currently takes trileptal, keppra, and onfi. Onfi , although potent and has nasty side effects, it works. She has had a failed crainiotomy (lt temporal ressection) and we recently placed the vns. The vns has been a god send. But I am skeptical, things don’t usually work very long. With the onfi and vns she is having 1 or 2 seizures biweekly. Compared to the 30/month it was.

      If keppra is working stick with it. All of the seizure meds have nasty side effects, something you get used to, but keppra and trileptal are the better ones.

  4. My daughter used to take Keppra. It controlled her seizures for almost two years but her moods were off the charts. No one seemed to listen until I took her to my doctor an Epileptologist, and he switched her. On depakote she is doing amazing. It’s the first seizure drug that she hasn’t had so much as a funny feeling on. It’s been a wonderful 8 and a half months on it.

  5. Adam’s seizures are controlled because of Depakote.

  6. My son has had epilepsy since he was 7… He’s been on ever med u all have mentioned… They all seem to work at first but then they stop.. Now he’s on vimpat, Topamax and keppra. Not under total control so it’s very difficult for all of us I HATE EPILEPSY!!!!!!!

    All the meds have side effects… We don’t even know how he will be some days. Good luck to all if you! Sorry to be a downer…

  7. Depakote has kept me goin thankfully. have had some scary moments since my first episode long ago. gotta luv science

  8. Depakote has kept me goin thankfully. have had some scary moments since my first episode long ago. gotta luv science

  9. My wish…..that all can be seizure free!! My son started having seizures at 3 mths. He is now 9 yrs old.

  10. Every one of you are in my thoughts..my prayers are that the seizures that my son had in February, are the end of it & this is something he will outgrow. I cannot imagine someone I love having seizures at random, I was scared to death when my son had his, so I just cannot imagine him having more..& more!!! We may be able to start the weaning off process of the keppra, soon….but that scares me even more…because right now, i feel that maybe the medicine is my crutch, altho, I just continue to pray & have faith that he will be ok & outgrow this horrible disease!!!!

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