A study in Germany has highlighted the positive and negative elements linked to the use of the antiepileptic drug (AED) retigabine.The research, led by University Hospital Bonn, assessed the clinical efficacy, adverse events and retention rates associated with the use of retigabine in adults with refractory focal epilepsy. The results are published in the medical journal Epilepsy & Behavior.Data collated from 195 people, treated at four German epilepsy centres in 2011 and 2012, showed that retigabine reduced seizure frequency or severity in 24.6% of subjects and led to seizure-freedom in 2.1%.However, the drug had no apparent effect in 43.1% of the group, and it was linked to seizure aggravation in 14.9%. In addition, adverse events were reported by 76% of the subjects, and three cases of  suspected sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) occurred during the observation period.The researchers concluded: “Our observational study suggests that retigabine leads to good seizure control in a small number of patients with treatment-refractory seizures. However, because of the rather high percentage of patients who experienced significant adverse events, we consider retigabine as a drug of reserve.”Retigabine is the first potassium channel-opening AED approved for the adjunctive treatment (given in addition to a primary treatment) of focal epilepsies.Posted by Steve LongEdited by Epilepsy Research UKClick here for more articles about anti-epileptic drugs and pregnancy risks.