Anti-epileptic drugs; pregnancy risks

How Biomarkers will Transform epilepsy care in the 2020s

We asked Professor Deb Pal, from King’s College London, who was awarded an ERUK pilot grant in this year’s funding round, to give us his view on where the biggest advances will be made in epilepsy research over the next few years.  Here is his response. At my primary school in the 1970s, we had an old lady music teacher read more

Researchers find protein linked to the treatment of both epilepsy and bipolar disorder

A team of researchers from the Royal Holloway have found that one particular protein which was known to be implicated in both epilepsy and bipolar disorder seems to be the key linking the treatment of both disorders. Sodium valproate which is associated with an increased chance of birth defects if taken during pregnancy, is used in the treatment of both read more

ERUK welcomes new regulations for use of epilepsy drug in women and girls of childbearing age

New regulations for the prescription of anti-epileptic drug have been introduced by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulation Authority (MHRA). Sodium valproate (also known as Epilim, Depakote, Epival, Episenta, and Convulex) can be prescribed for epilepsy, bipolar disorder, and migraine, can no longer be prescribed to women of childbearing age unless they are on a pregnancy prevention plan (PPP). The guidelines read more

Exposure to AEDs in the Womb Does Not Increase the Frequency of GP Visits

Children whose mothers used antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) while pregnant are not more likely to visit their GP during their childhood, according to a population-based study by Danish scientists. It is important to note that the study only analyzed the frequency of primary healthcare visits and did not take into account complications such as malformations at birth and neurological and psychiatric read more

People with Epilepsy Using Perampanel (FycompaTM) Should Be Closely Monitored due to Increased Risk of Falls, Study Suggests

People with epilepsy taking perampanel (FycompaTM) should be counselled and monitored against the risk of falls according to a study published in the journal Epilepsia. The recommendation is based on the finding of three Phase 3 clinical trials testing the safety and efficacy of different doses of perampanel in people with drug resistant partial seizures and one Phase 3 clinical read more

AED Adherence Could Improve Quality of Life and Sexual Functioning in Women with Epilepsy

Adhering to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) improves seizure control but can also enhance quality of life and sexual functioning in women with epilepsy, according to a study published in the journal Epilepsy and Behavior. “Healthcare providers should be aware of these additional benefits of medication adherence and use these arguments to encourage female patients to take their medication, which can eventually read more

Testing of a Modified Antiepileptic Drug in Healthy Volunteers Completed

Adamas, a pharmaceutical company based in California, has announced the completion of a Phase1 clinical trial testing the drug candidate ADS-4101 for the treatment of partial onset seizures. ADS-4101 is a new version of the existing antiepileptic drug (AED) lacosamide (Vimpat®) that is already approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicine Agency (EMA). However read more

Nasal Spray to Treat Cluster Seizures Gets Fast-Track Designation from the FDA

The pharmaceutical company Neurelis Inc. recently announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted fast-track designation for NRL-1, a special formulation of diazepam, for the treatment of epilepsies that are characterised by clusters of seizures. This means that the new formulation could become available more quickly. “We are very excited to have received Fast Track Designation status read more

Outcome of AED Therapy Similar in People with Epilepsy Related to Blood Vessel Malformation and People with General Epilepsy

The outcome of antiepileptic drug (AED) therapy in people with epilepsy related to blood vessel malformation in the brain is similar to the outcome of  those with ‘general’ epilepsy, according to a study published in the scientific journal Seizure. According to the authors, failure to achieve seizure-freedom after the adequate trial of two AEDs seems an appropriate criterion for surgical referral of read more

Electronic Diary May Improve Adherence to AEDs in Women with Epilepsy Who Are Planning Pregnancy

A study published in the scientific journal, Epilepsia, shows that electronic diaries may help women with epilepsy who are planning a pregnancy adhere to treatment schedules. The results of the study, conducted at New York University Langone Epilepsy Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, suggest that electronic diaries could be useful in clinical settings to enhance patient read more

Taking Antidepressants in Pregnancy May Increase Child’s Risk of Epilepsy

According to a study published in the journal Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, children exposed to antidepressants in the womb have an increased risk of being diagnosed with epilepsy later on if their mothers are also diagnosed with depression during pregnancy*. A child’s risk of epilepsy also appears to increase if its mother takes antidepressants 2-6 months before, but not during, pregnancy. Interestingly, the findings suggest that if read more

Women with Epilepsy who are Overweight Should Be Closely Monitored in Pregnancy to Avoid Complications

Women with epilepsy who are overweight are at a higher risk of developing complications during pregnancy and delivery, according to a new study published in the scientific journal, Epilepsia. The authors state that these women should be regarded as a high-risk group, and that they should be referred to a nutritionist both before an antiepileptic drug (AED) is started and when read more

Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 May Help Reduce Risk of Stroke in People Taking AEDs

The use of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) may decrease the levels of folic acid and vitamin B12 in the blood, according to a study published in the international scientific journal, Biomedical Reports. According to the authors this could be linked to a higher risk of stroke in people with different types of epilepsy. Therefore, giving these people regular folic acid and read more

Valproic acid may be more effective than lamotrigine in some types of epilepsy

Valproic acid may be more effective than lamotrigine as a first-line drug for the treatment newly diagnosed idiopathic generalized tonic-clonic seizures (GTCS) in adults. This is according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. Opinions among medical professionals differ as to which drug is more effective in adults newly diagnosed with idiopathic GTCS, and this prompted researchers in India to read more

Results of Extension Study Show Benefit of Drug in Controlling Seizures

Please note that Epilepsy Research UK does not endorse/promote individual epilepsy treatments or pharmaceutical companies. Long-term use (up to two and a half years) of the antiepileptic drug (AED) Fycompa (perampanel), in addition to other AEDs, gives sustained seizure control in poorly-controlled idiopathic generalised epilepsy with primary generalised tonic clonic seizures. This is according to data presented at the 12thEuropean Congress on Epileptology, was held read more

ERUK study shows promising results for two antiepileptic drugs in pregnancy

An Epilepsy Research UK-funded study has shown that taking the antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) levetiracetam or topiramate during pregnancy may not have a negative impact on the baby’s IQ and thinking skills. The research, which also confirms the risks associated with valproate (another AED), is published in Neurology® online. There is accumulating evidence that exposure to valproate before birth is linked to a significantly increased chance of birth defects, developmental problems and lower IQ, especially at higher dosages. However, read more

The Impact of AEDs on Bone Health

Paediatric researchers from Taiwan, who compared the effects of old and new antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) on bone health, found that new AEDs may be safer and better tolerated. They note, however, that further research is needed to fully understand the effects of newer AEDs on bone health and growth. According to the scientists, whose study is published in the International Journal of read more

New Trial of Cannabidiol Gel to Treat Epilepsy

Please note that Epilepsy Research UK does not endorse/promote individual epilepsy treatments or pharmaceutical companies. Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, a US-based pharmaceutical company, has ‘dosed’ the first participant in its STAR1 clinical trial, which aims to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a cannabidiol gel called ZYN002 in adults with refractory focal epilepsy. Armando Anido, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, said in a press release: read more

Examining the Factors That influence antiepileptic drug adherence

A large-scale study, published in the scientific journal Neurology, suggests that giving better-tolerated antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), in simpler dosing regimens, can improve adherence amongst patients. Adherence is a measure of whether patients take their drugs as prescribed. It can be calculated using a ‘medical possession ratio’, which is the percentage of time a patient has access to medication. During the read more

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