A preliminary study, presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting in Vancouver, has indicated that, for some people with epilepsy, a once-daily antiepileptic drug (AED) could offer the same level of effectiveness as a twice-daily option.
The research, led by the researchers at the University of Gothenburg, compared the performance of the once-a-day drug eslicarbazepine acetate to a twice-daily carbamazepine regime among people newly diagnosed with focal seizures.
A total of 815 people newly diagnosed with focal seizures were randomly assigned to receive either eslicarbazepine acetate or carbamazepine for approximately six months. Participants started at the lowest of three dosing levels and moved up to more intensive treatment regimens if they continued to experience seizures. To avoid bias, neither the subjects nor the research clinicians were aware of which drug was being taken.
The results showed that 71% of those taking eslicarbazepine and 76% of those on carbamazepine achieved seizure freedom after six months. After one year, these proportions were 65% and 70% respectively.
This difference is not statistically significant, which means that the once-daily treatment option can be considered clinically ‘non-inferior’ to the more frequently-dosed AED, and hence that people with epilepsy can expect to achieve similar benefits from a less onerous dosing regimen.
Study author Dr Elinor Ben-Menachem, of the University in Gothenburg, said: “Memory issues, fatigue or a complicated medication schedule can all interfere with a person taking their seizure-control medications on a regular basis, so having a once-daily option for patients, especially when they are newly diagnosed and still learning to manage the disease, may be beneficial.”
The results are also meaningful for doctors, who may find it easier to tailor therapy options to meet the individual needs of their patients with these findings in mind.
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