Navigation Links
New study identifies best treatment for childhood epilepsy

PORTLAND, Ore. One of the oldest available anti-seizure medications, ethosuximide, is the most effective treatment for childhood absence epilepsy, according to initial outcomes published in this week's New England Journal of Medicine.

OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital is one of 32 comprehensive pediatric epilepsy centers nationwide selected to participate in this landmark clinical trial as part of the NIH Childhood Absence Epilepsy Study Group.

The study group compared three medications typically used to treat the most common childhood epilepsy syndrome, childhood absence epilepsy, which is characterized by frequent non-convulsive seizures that cause the child to stop what he or she is doing and stare for up to 30 seconds at time.

Prior to this study, there was no definitive evidence on which drug worked best.

"Much of our scientific understanding of childhood epilepsy care today comes from historical experience or studies involving adult patients with related, but not identical, conditions," explained Colin Roberts, M.D., OHSU Doernbecher's principal investigator for the study, assistant professor of pediatrics and neurology, and director of OHSU Doernbecher's Pediatric Epilepsy Program,

"This study is an important milestone in our understanding of childhood absence epilepsy. Never before have we been able to document in such a comprehensive, scientific fashion the best options to treat children with this condition."

The study group enrolled 453 children newly diagnosed with childhood absence epilepsy from July 2004 to October 2007. Study participants were randomly assigned to ethosuximide, valproic acid or lamotrigine. Drug doses were incrementally increased until the child was seizure-free. After 16 weeks of therapy, the researchers found ethosuximide and valproic acid were significantly more effective than lamotrigine in controlling seizures, with no intolerable side effects. They also determined ethosuximide was associated with significantly fewer negative effects on attention.

Nick and Michelle Skimas, of Vancouver, Wash., enrolled their daughter Julia in the study in April 2007. Julia stopped having seizures after starting medication.

Before diagnosis and treatment, Julia, now 8, would stop abruptly while reading aloud, pause for 10 to 15 seconds, then resume where she left off, not aware that anything had occurred. Michelle assumed Julia was just taking breaks to look at the pictures.

This went on for two to three weeks, and Michelle didn't think anything of it. Then, while on a family vacation, Julia suddenly stopped in the midst of pitching a baseball and began slowly turning in a circle. Julia was unaware of what was happening and had no recollection of what had occurred.

"That did it," said Michelle. "We took Julia to be evaluated as soon as we got back." After an EEG, and an MRI to rule out a brain tumor, Julia was diagnosed with childhood absence epilepsy. Her primary care physician recommended she enroll in a new drug trial at OHSU Doernbecher. Nick and Michelle were leery of giving their daughter medication, but Roberts and his team explained that without treatment Julia's seizures would have a serious impact on her learning and development.

"They said to think of Julia's brain as a classroom in which one child is continuously disruptive. The rest of the class can't function. It was a hard decision, but we are glad we participated. We feel blessed that she has been seizure-free for more than 2 years."

The national study group recommended long-term follow up for the study participants and recently received a five-year extension from the NIH.

Julia, who stopped taking the medication several months after she became seizure-free because it increased her BMI, or body mass index, continues to participate in the newly extended trial, representing one of three study groups: participants who took medication, became seizure-free and stopped taking the medication. The other groups comprise children who are taking the medication but still having seizures, and children taking the medication who are not experiencing seizures, respectively.

"We told Julia all along that what she was doing could very well help other kids in her position, and now she knows it did. That will make a big difference in her life," said Michelle.

"The initial outcomes from this study describe one of many aspects of childhood absence epilepsy evaluated by the study group. Collaborative studies like this lay the groundwork for many critically important studies to follow that will define the proper care of children with seizures," said Roberts.


Contact: Tamara Hargens-Bradley
Oregon Health & Science University

Related medicine news :

1. Some older ER patients are getting the wrong medicines, U-M study finds
2. Pill Wont Shorten Your Life: Study
3. Pancreatic cancer study reveals mechanism initiating disease, in mice
4. Pancreatic Cancer Study Reveals Mechanism Initiating Disease, In Mice
5. Study Results Validate Shape-HF as Simplified, Portable Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing System
6. Top 10 Pharmaceutical Company Awards Comprehensive Cardiac Safety Study to iCardiac
7. Study: Kidney disease a big risk for younger, low-income minorities
8. Study Predicts Half of Physician Continuing Education Will Be Online by 2016
9. H1N1 Flu Spreads Slower Than Seasonal Flu: Study
10. New study questions benefits of elective removal of ovaries during hysterectomy
11. Study finds cancer mortality has declined since initiation of war on cancer
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... software Q-Suite, announces the incorporation of Asterisk 11 LTS (Long Term Support) into ... Asterisk 11 LTS brings Q-Suite 5.10 up-to-date with a version of Asterisk that ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... , ... Inevitably when people think Thanksgiving, they also think Holiday sales and ... Friday and Cyber Monday massage chair sales to receive the best pricing ... to find the best massage chair deals, they can see all of the coupons ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Ashburn, VA (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 ... ... Planners, an American Express Travel Representative. As a franchise owner, Somu now offers ... range of cruise, destination wedding packages, private cruise sales, as well as, cabin ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... 26, 2015 , ... Jobs in hospital medical laboratories and in the imaging ... staffing agency Aureus Medical Group . These fields, as well as ... searching for healthcare jobs through the company’s website, , The leading ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... 26, 2015 , ... WorldCare International, Inc., the first company ... Employee Benefits Conference. The Employee Benefits Conference was hosted by the International Foundation ... 11th, 2015. The conference was held at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 26, 2015 ... the addition of the "2016 Future Horizons ... Monitoring (TDM) Market: Supplier Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, ... offering. --> ... comprehensive analysis of the Japanese therapeutic drug monitoring ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... of the "2016 Future Horizons and ... Abuse Testing Market: Supplier Shares, Country Segment ... to their offering. --> ... "2016 Future Horizons and Growth Strategies ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... DUBLIN , November 26, 2015 ... has announced the addition of the  ... in the European Therapeutic Drug Monitoring ... Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging Opportunities"  report ... ) has announced the addition ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: