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American Academy of Neurology and American Epilepsy Society guidelines for treating of epilepsy

SAN FRANCISCO--The number of drugs available to treat epilepsy have more than doubled in the last decade. The American Academy of Neurology and the American Epilepsy Society have assembled the top experts in the field to evaluate the available data of more than 1,400 research articles in order to create a guideline for the treatment of epilepsy with these new antiepileptic drugs (AEDs).

"These guidelines are designed to provide evidence-based assessments on the use of the new anti-epileptic drugs to clinicians," said Jacqueline French, M.D., professor of neurology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia and one of the authors of the guidelines.

"The guidelines offer a rigorous, comprehensive and unbiased analysis of the available data on the safety, efficacy and mode of use of these AEDs that the clinician can use in making treatment decisions," said Andres Kanner, M.D., professor of neurological sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and another author of the guidelines. "This thorough review of the current research on epilepsy can also have a major impact on deciding what our priorities for future research should be," he said.

Dr. French and Dr. Kanner spoke today at an American Medical Association media briefing in partnership with the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the American Epilepsy Society at the AAN's annual meeting in San Francisco.

Because of their previous experience with the older anti-epileptic drugs, doctors are comfortable using them. They need guidance in how and when to use the newer drugs. "There has been an explosion in the field of epilepsy research in the last decade," said Dr. French. "Eight new drugs have been added to the five previously approved drugs commonly used for the treatment of epilepsy. While the older drugs are all effective in preventing seizures, there are some concerns about side effects over the long term."

"Epilepsy often strikes
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Contact: Karen Kreeger
karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5658
American Medical Association
26-Apr-2004


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