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FDA Expands Use of Epilepsy Drug Perampanel (Fycompa) to Younger Children

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted expanded approval of perampanel (Fycompa, Esai Inc) for the treatment of “partial-onset seizures (POS) with or without secondary generalized seizures” in patients as young as 4 years, the manufacturer reports. The expanded indication is for both monotherapy and adjunctive use in patients 4 years of age and older. The drug was initially approved in 2012 as adjunctive treatment for POS. This was followed in 2015 by approval as adjunctive treatment for primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures in patients with epilepsy who were at least 12 years of age, and in 2017 as monotherapy for POS with or without secondary generalized seizures in the same age group. To date, the drug “is approved in 55 countries and has treated mor...

Epilepsy drug (Gabapentin/Neuronton) linked to opioid misuse

A recent study conducted by Duquesne University professor John Tomko has linked high dosages of the epilepsy drug Gabapentin to opioid abuse. Based on the findings of the study, Tomko recommends prescribing and distributing Gabapentin with more scrutiny and oversight. Gabapentin, brand name Neurontin, has been formally approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat symptoms of epilepsy, such as seizures and post herpetic neuralgia, a type of pain caused by shingles. According to Tomko, however, Gabapentin has been used off-label (i.e., not approved by the FDA) to treat other ailments such as back pain, anxiety, bipolar disorder, migraines and more. Tomko’s study found that subjects in UPMC Mercy’s Behavioral Health units were twice as likely to test positive for illicit drug a...

Newer epilepsy drugs fail to improve outcomes

Overall treatment outcomes in patients with epilepsy have failed to improve, despite the proliferation of several newer antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) with different mechanisms, according to a recent study published in JAMA Neurology. Treatment outcomes in patients with epilepsy have not improved, despite the advent of more than 15 newer antiepileptic drugs.   “Despite the availability of over 15 new drugs, overall seizure control in newly diagnosed patients has not fundamentally changed,” said senior author, Patrick Kwan, MD, PhD, Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia. “Newer AEDs are generally effective, and many have favorable safety profiles, but all have been reported to have efficacy similar to the established AEDs when used as monotherapy or adju...

FDA To Consider Midazolam Nasal Spray for Acute Cluster Seizure Treatment

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted the New Drug Application (NDA) for an investigational nasal spray therapy intended for the acute treatment of seizure clusters. Midazolam Nasal Spray—from global biopharmaceutical company UCB, Brussels, Belgium (UCB)—has been previously granted Orphan Drug and Fast Track designations by the FDA. It’s now set for a potential market approval in early 2019. The spray’s application is supported by data from the phase 3 Acute Rescue Therapy in Epilepsy with Midazolam Intranasal Spray (ARTEMIS 1) trial, in which a 5mg intranasal dose of the therapy was tested for efficacy and safety in 292 patients with seizure clusters in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled setting. Investigators had tested for a primary endpoint of seizure termi...

Antiepileptic Drug Changes May Negatively Impact Emotions

An epilepsy patient’s emotional well-being may be negatively impacted when changes are made to their antiepileptic drug (AED) regimen. These are the findings from a study published online in the journal Epilepsy and Behavior. In order to understand how AED changes affect patient emotions, researchers asked members of an online epilepsy community to participate in an online survey which consisted of 31 questions that rated their feelings on a recent AED change. In addition to the survey results, comments from epilepsy-related online forums and social media websites where people expressed their experiences with AED changes were also analyzed (termed passive listening statements).

AGH helms epileptic study

In the United States, one out of 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy at some point in their life, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. This chronic neurological condition causes seizures that severely affect a person’s awareness, consciousness, actions and physical movements. The way that epilepsy can be managed is through different medications that can help control the seizures. Medications also become important if someone is having a seizure, and knowing which one will work the quickest and safest is key. This is why 39 medical centers across the United States have agreed to join The Established Status Epilepticus Treatment Trial to determine the best way to treat prolonged seizure patients who come into emergency departments.

Young people with epilepsy are more than twice as likely to be poisoned by medication

Children and young adults with epilepsy are more likely to suffer broken bones, burns and poisonings compared to those without the neurological disorder, new research has found. The study, led by academics at The University of Nottingham and funded by the National Institute for Health Research, shows that young people with the condition are at significantly greater risk of being poisoned by medication, leading the authors to call for further research into whether these poisonings are intentional. The results, taken in tandem with previous research findings, highlight the need for further research into whether young people with the condition are at greater risk from an overdose, accidental or intentional, of their epilepsy drugs or other medication. And the researchers say that doctors and ...

Harvard stem cell scientists discover potential treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Discovery will lead directly to clinical trials Harvard stem cell scientists have discovered that a recently approved medication for epilepsy may possibly be a meaningful treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-Lou Gehrig’s disease, a uniformly fatal neurodegenerative disorder. The researchers are now collaborating with Massachusetts General Hospital to design an initial clinical trial testing the safety of the treatment in ALS patients. The investigators all caution that a great deal needs to be done to assure the safety and efficacy of the treatment in ALS patients, before physicians should start offering it. The work, laid out in two related papers in the April 3 online editions of Cell Stem Celland Cell Reports, is the long-term fruition of studies by Harvard Stem Cell ...

Cannabis: The First-Line Medication For Treating Childhood Epilepsy?

“A little less panicky, but more tired than ever before.  So violent with biting, hitting and scratching, ripping the leads off, and just wanting to crawl out of his skin with not being able to sit still…. No sleep for either Jaxs or I. Every time he fell asleep, then 20 minutes later a seizure. So, he fought sleep and had that panicked ‘I am dying’ fear in his eyes that expressed so much confusion and loss at what was happening. Most helpless I have felt so far in 14 years.” -From the journal of Jennie Stormes   The words are chilling, heartbreaking, every parent’s worst nightmare. Jaxs hasDravet Syndrome, a rare, incurable form of severe childhood epilepsy.

Life with epilepsy goes on.

Epilepsy places limitations on a person but with modern medication and the right attitude it can be controlled and a person can enjoy a fulfilling life.