Lacosamide shows promise as monotherapy for partial-onset seizures

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A drug called lacosamide is safe and effective when used on its own to treat partial-onset seizures, according to the results of a recent phase-III clinical trial.

Lacosamide (brand name Vimpat) was developed by biopharmaceutical company UCB and is currently approved in 36 countries as an adjunctive (add-on) therapy for adults with epilepsy.

However, the company believes it could have wider use as a single-drug regimen or ‘monotherapy’.

The latest clinical trial assessed lacosamide (400mg per day) in 427 adults, aged 16 to 70 years, with partial-onset seizures.

Patients had been taking one or two other antiepileptic drugs and were switched to lacosamide, with their previous drugs being withdrawn.

The results of the trial were promising, according to Professor Dr Iris Loew-Friedrich, chief medical officer and executive vice-president at UCB.

She said: “We are very pleased with these top-line results and look forward to discussing the detailed study results with the regulatory agencies and the scientific community.

“These encouraging data support our development programme for lacosamide as monotherapy for partial onset seizures.”

The professor added that the company hopes to make lacosamide available to “many more people living with epilepsy”.

Lacosamide is designed to control electrical activity in the brain, thereby reducing the risk of seizures.

It does this in two key ways – by selectively enhancing sodium channel inactivation to control and stabilise the neural network in the brain; and by modulating a protein called collapsin response mediator protein-2 (CRMP-2) in order to influence the development or progression of epilepsy.

This means it works in a different way to traditional antiepileptic drugs, such as carbamazepine and lamotrigine, and could therefore provide an alternative treatment option for patients with partial-onset seizures if approved as a monotherapy in the future.

The drug is available in both tablet and injectable forms, as well as an oral solution for use in patients who cannot take tablets.

It is currently approved in the EU for the treatment of 16 to 18-year-olds and adults with epilepsy.

Posted by Steve Long

Editorial team

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