Innovations in Epilepsy Management – An Overview
In the past twenty years, thirteen new antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) have been introduced, each differing in their efficacy spectrum, mechanism of action, pharmacokinetics, safety and tolerability profiles. These newer AEDs symbolize a welcoming future in the management of epilepsy because they are able to produce a remarkable reduction in seizure frequency in up to 40% to 50% of the patients who had been refractory to old generation drugs. Despite the current availability of these new drugs, only a few patients with truly refractory seizures can be made seizure free. Although the newer agents are not superior to that of the older drugs, some have been shown to be non-inferior in terms of their efficacy. They offer additional advantages like better tolerability, ease of use, reduced interaction profile. Even though in most situations the older generation drugs still represent the best choice, advancing studies show that in many conditions, new generation drugs may be entirely vindicated for initial therapy. This urges a need for the search of novel and more efficacious new antiepileptic drugs in the management of uncontrollable seizures. More direct comparisons of newer versus newer and newer versus older drugs in clinical trials, both for monotherapy and adjunctive therapy must be conducted. More than 20 compounds with promising antiepileptic and neuroprotective properties have been discovered and are under various stages of drug development.
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