Navigation Links
Oldest Epilepsy Drug Best for Children
Date:3/3/2010

In landmark trial, it beat two newer meds for treating seizures, with fewer side effects

WEDNESDAY, March 3 (HealthDay News) -- A landmark comparison of three drugs widely used against the most common form of childhood epilepsy finds the oldest to be the most effective.

The study of 453 children at 32 U.S. medical centers found that ethosuximide (Zarontin), one of the oldest anti-seizure medications available in the United States, is most effective at controlling what is called absence or "petit mal" epilepsy, with the fewest side effects. Valproic acid (Valproate, Depakote) came second, and the newest drug, lamotrigine (Lamictal), was third, according to a report in the March 4 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

"This is the first real hard evidence of comparing the three most commonly used medicines, and finds one superior to the other two," said trial leader Dr. Tracy A. Glauser, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

About 1 percent of American children have epilepsy, Glauser said, and 10 percent of those have absence epilepsy, which causes the child to stare blankly into space for periods that may be as brief as five seconds. The bad news from the study, in which the children had frequent electroencephalograms to measure brain activity, is that they also often have problems with attention, Glauser said.

"The conventional wisdom has been that if you control the seizures, that is enough," he said. "We found that about a third of them had attention problems when they started and that they continued. These kids need to have their seizures addressed, but also need further evaluation to have their attention problems addressed."

The study included children aged 2.5 to 13 years, newly diagnosed with epilepsy and free of other problems, such as autism. They were randomly assigned to one of the three drugs. The study measured primarily whether they were free of seizures without intolerable side effects after 16 weeks, with a few children continuing for as long as 20 weeks. The study also measured how the drugs affected the children's ability to pay attention.

Ethosuximide prevented seizures in 53 percent of the children, slightly less than the 58 percent freedom-from-failure rate of valproic acid but significantly better than the 29 percent for lamotrigine. But only 33 percent of those taking the older drug had significant attention problems, compared to 49 percent of those taking valproic acid, the researchers found.

So the treatment strategy indicated by the study -- and now being followed in Cincinnati -- is to start with ethosuximide, Glauser said. "If it hasn't worked after four or five months, you need to switch medicines," he said, with a trial of valproic acid. If that doesn't work, either lamotrigine or a combination of drugs should be used. More than 90 percent of children respond to one of the regimens, Glauser added.

"It was somewhat unexpected that the oldest of the drugs had as good an effect as the other and better side effects," said study participant Dr. Shlomo Shinnar, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Management Center at the Children's Hospital of Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

"The study highlights the importance of looking not only at seizure control but also how the child does otherwise," Shinnar said. "You want seizure control without side effects, such as problems with attention and behavior."

"Unfortunately, even our best medications work only half the time," Glauser noted. "We need to develop better medications or better algorithms to match children with medicines better."

But with proper treatment, most children with the condition "go on to lead good, fulfilling lives," Glauser said.

More information

A guide to dealing with childhood epilepsy is given by the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Tracy A. Glauser, M.D., director, Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; Shlomo Shinnar, M.D., Ph.D., director, Comprehensive Epilepsy Management Center, Montefiore Medical Center Children's Hospital, New York City; March 4, 2010, New England Journal of Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Manhattans Oldest Dog Dies, Leaves Behind a Legacy of Teaching
2. Nations Oldest AIDS Organization Launches Innovative Tool to Reach New Faces of HIV on World AIDS Day
3. Nations Oldest Taxpayer Group Criticizes Committee Vote for Baucus Health Bill, Hidden Tax Increases
4. Oldest Skeleton in Human Family Tree Surprises Scientists
5. Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
6. Barry Bloom, Jeffrey Sachs to Be Honored for Introducing Modern Solutions to The Worlds Oldest Problems: Poverty And Disease
7. Oldest Heart Patients May Get Most From Warfarin
8. New Cases of Alzheimers and Dementia Continue to Rise, Even in the Oldest Old
9. New cases of Alzheimers and dementia continue to rise, even in the oldest old
10. Structures from the human immune systems oldest branch shed light on a range of diseases
11. Worlds oldest woman had normal brain
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... ... Each year, about 800,000 people suffer from cerebral vascular accidents, or strokes. ... for one death every four minutes. Many people who survive a stroke are ... a video series called “Your Brain,” in conjunction with its medical journal “Balance,” in ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... Toronto, ON (PRWEB) , ... May 03, 2016 ... ... been recognized as one of Canada’s top Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies ... top Canadian and Multinational ICT companies operating in Canada, as ranked by revenue. ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 03, 2016 , ... Branches, Inc. ... its Grow & Climb children and youth programs in South Miami. Macy’s is a ... , The Grow Program provides afterschool tutoring, mentoring, enrichment and academic support to ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... May 03, 2016 , ... ... healthcare organizations, especially medium and small physician practices, to better grasp and implement ... step-by-step approach that guides practices on a well-defined, expert-created path to compliance. HIPAA ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... Denver, CO (PRWEB) , ... May 02, 2016 , ... ... will serve as the keynote speaker for five events throughout the month of May. ... for a number of national news outlets. He also frequently appears on the Science ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... Glycotope GmbH, a clinical-stage immuno-oncology ... appointment of Dr. Alfredo Zurlo as Chief ... with many years clinical experience and a proven track ... role was at Mologen AG where he was Chief ... Dr. Zurlo held various positions at F Hoffmann La ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... , April 28, 2016  Marking its ... accessible breast and ovarian cancer risk test, ... analyzing 30 genes that highly impact the most ... Available today, the Color Test analyzes hereditary cancer ... stomach, and uterine cancers. The Color Test is ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... Dr. Vivek Ahuja , ... Ste phen Schmidt Join the ... software solutions for life sciences, today announced key new leaders have ... insight to a growing business.  This will bolster the company,s safety ... joined ArisGlobal in the position of Vice President - Safety. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: