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15 April 2016

Study finds that taking once- a-day epilepsy drug may be as effective as a multiple dose drug at preventing seizures

A new preliminary study has found that an anti-epileptic drug that can be taken once a day to control seizures may work as effectively as a drug that must be taken twice a day.

The study, which is due to be presented to the American Academy of Neurology this week, compared the once daily drug eslicarbazepine acetate with carbamazepine which is taken twice a day in people newly diagnosed with partial seizures.

Elinor Ben-Menachem, MD, of Gothenburg University in Sweden and study author explained: "Seizure control is crucial.  A once-a-day drug may help people stick to their medication schedule."

The study followed 815 people newly diagnosed with partial seizures who received either eslicarbazepine or carbamazepine for about six months. Participants started the study at the lowest of three dosing levels. Those who had a seizure at the lowest level were then moved up to the second dosing level. If they had another seizure, they received the highest dosing level. A total of 71 per cent of those taking eslicarbazepine and 76 per cent of those taking carbamazepine were seizure-free after six months. After one year, 65 per cent of those taking the once-daily drug were seizure-free compared to 70 per cent of those taking the twice-daily drug.

Eslicarbazepine 'not inferior' drug

The study was designed to show that a new treatment is not clinically worse than an existing treatment.  The study was designed to identify eslicarbazepine as 'non-inferior', if the difference in seizure-free rate between the two drugs was 12 per cent or lower.  Eslicarbazepine was deemed 'non inferior' to carbamazepine.

Ben-Menachem said:  “Memory issues, fatigue, or a complicated medication schedule can all interfere with a person taking their seizure-control medications on a regular basis so having a once-daily option for patients, especially when they are newly diagnosed and still learning to manage the disease, may be beneficial.”


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