The American Academy of Neurology and the American Epilepsy Society have assembled the top experts in the field to evaluate the available data of 1,462 research articles in order to create a guideline for the treatment of epilepsy with the 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 and one of the authors of the guidelines. "The 'older' drugs for epilepsy are literally some of the oldest drugs we have--for example, phenobarbital has been used for nearly 100 years to prevent seizures."
"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 of the guidelines' authors. "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.
Because of their long 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 when people are young and patients will be on medication for decades," said Dr. French. "The older drugs are all known to
Contact: Mary Ann Schultz
Rush University Medical Center