A new antiepileptic drug (AED), licensed as an add-on treatment for focal onset seizures with or without secondary generalised seizures in people aged 16 years and over, has been launched in the UK.Brivaracetam, also known by the brand name Briviact, was approved by the European Commission in January 2016 and it can be initiated ‘without titration’, meaning that patients receive a therapeutic dose from the first day of treatment.Briviact was approved based on positive safety and efficacy data from phase III clinical trials. The results of these trials, which are published in the medical journal Neurology, showed a significant reduction in seizure frequency in people taking the drug compared to those given a placebo.The new treatment was also shown to be generally well-tolerated by patients, with the most commonly reported adverse reactions being somnolence, dizziness, headache and fatigue.Overall, the clinical development programme for this drug has involved more than 3,000 people and more than eight years of experience for some patients.Mark Manford, consultant neurologist at Bedford and Addenbrooke’s Hospitals, said: “Finding the right combination of medicines for many epilepsy patients can be a long journey, during which time the patient may continue to suffer seizures, and living a normal life is very difficult.”As a neurologist working with patients whose seizures have not yet been brought under control, I welcome the possibility that a new medicine may be able to contribute to the tools available to help my patients.”Currently there approximately 600,000 people with a diagnosis of epilepsy in the UK, but only about 52% of those receiving treatment are seizure-free. The economic cost of managing seizures in England and Wales is estimated at £2 billion each year, which creates a strong demand for new therapy options.Click here for more articles about anti-epileptic drugs and pregnancy risks.