Newer Epilepsy Drug Has Worse Side Effects Than Older Drug

Two commonly prescribed epilepsy drugs have varied cognitive side effects on patients, report doctors from Georgetown University Medical Center. Their findings are published in the May 13 issue of the journal Neurology. In a double-blind, randomized study, researchers looked at 2 drugs, valproate–released in 1978 for the treatment of epileptic seizures, and topiramate, approved by the FDA in late 1996. Each drug was added to carbamazepine, a standard epilepsy treatment, and then given to patients with epilepsy. The cognitive effects on those patients taking topiramate were slightly, although noticeably, worse than those taking the older valproate for a subset of patients.

Epilepsy 'Treatment of Last Resort' Considered Most Effective

One of the least-used options for treating disabling seizures caused by epilepsy is the most effective, according to a review of research findings appearing in the Feb. 25 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Neurology. The findings were published by the American Academy of Neurology in association with the American Epilepsy Society and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Designed to address guidelines for surgical treatment of epilepsy, the analysis urges tens of thousands of patients nationwide — and their doctors — to consider surgery for mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) as a viable and desirable alternative to medication rather than a treatment of last resort. MTLE is the most common form of epilepsy.

Single-drug epilepsy treatment shows promise

Physicians have identified what they say is a promising new treatment for epilepsy that reduces the number of seizures while helping patients lead more productive lives.
The study is the first to show that an antiepileptic drug typically used in combination with other drugs, might be successful as a standalone. That’s important; single-drug therapies are often more successful because patients find it easier to stay on the course of treatment compared to therapies involving multiple drugs.

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