Antiepileptic drugs

What Are The New Epilepsy Drugs?

Medications used to treat epilepsy are called antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). There are more than 30 prescription AEDs on the market, and they’re mostly available as oral tablets or capsules. Seizures can occur for a number of reasons, such as injury or sickness. Epilepsy can also lead to seizures since it causes your brain to send abnormal signals.

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological conditions, affecting more than 65 million worldwide. For those dealing with epilepsy, the advent of a seizure can feel like a ticking time bomb. It could happen at any time or any place, potentially posing a fatal risk when a seizure strikes during risky situations, such as while driving.

Many different anti-seizure medications are available, which are typically chosen based on the patient’s type of seizure disorder, side effects, other health conditions, and medication use of the patient. Medication regimen can also be tailored based on other conditions for which the patient is being treated. Advances in science are leading to the development of new drugs to treat epilepsy one of which is Cenobamate.

What is Cenobamate?

Cenobamate, sold under the brand name Xcopri among others, is a medication used for the treatment of partial-onset seizures in adults. Cenobamate was approved for medical use in the United States in November 2019 and placed in Schedule V in March 2020.

According to research, the drug is safe and effective for up to 1 year. Post hoc analyses from an open-label study showed that seizure frequency was significantly reduced and the seizure-freedom rate was significantly improved among 240 adult participants who received cenobamate.

How should this medicine be used?

Cenobamate comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once daily with or without food. Take cenobamate at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take cenobamate exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Swallow the tablets whole with liquid; do not split, chew, or crush them.

Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of cenobamate and gradually increase your dose, not more than once every 2 weeks.

Cenobamate may be habit forming. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or take it for a longer period of time than prescribed by your doctor.

Cenobamate may help control your condition, but it does not cure it. Do not stop taking cenobamate without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking cenobamate, your seizures may become worse. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Cenobamate may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • headache
  • tiredness
  • nausea
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • dry mouth
  • heartburn
  • stomach pain
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • back pain
  • taste changes
  • difficulty readying, writing, or speaking
  • confusion

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS section, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:

  • double vision or blurred vision
  • rash; hives; swelling of your face or legs; difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • fever, sore throat, or swollen glands
  • sores in mouth or around eyes
  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • fatigue or weakness; muscle pain; yellowing of skin or eyes; or dark urine
  • shortness of breath
  • irregular heartbeat or fainting

Cenobamate may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online

List of Generic and Brand Names of Epilepsy Drugs

  • Acetazolamide
  • Brivaracetam available as Briviact
  • Cannabidiol available as Epidyolex
  • Carbamazepine also available as Carbagen, Tegretol, Tegretol Prolonged Release
  • Clobazam also available as Frisium, Perizam, Tapclob, Zacco
  • Clonazepam
  • Eslicarbazepine acetate available as Zebinix
  • Ethosuximide
  • Everolimus also available as Votubia
  • Gabapentin also available as Neurontin
  • Lacosamide available as Vimpat
  • Lamotrigine also available as Lamitcal
  • Levetiracetam also available as Desitrend, Keppra
  • Oxcarbazepine also available asTrileptal
  • Perampanel available as Fycompa
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenytoin also available as Epanutin, Phenytoin Sodium Flynn
  • Piracetam available as Nootropil
  • Pregabalin also available as Alzain, Axalid, Lecaent, Lyrica, Rewisca
  • Primidone
  • Rufinamide available as Inovelon
  • Sodium valproate (important information for women here) also available as Epilim, Epilim Chrono, Epilim Chronosphere, Episenta, Epival, Dyzantil
  • Stiripentol also available as Diacomit
  • Tiagabine available as Gabitril
  • Topiramate also available as Topamax
  • Valproic acid available as Convulex, Epilim Chrono, Epilim Chronosphere
  • Vigabatrin available as Sabril
  • Zonisamide also available as Zonegran

You can find information about which types of seizures different AEDs are used for by following these links to either the NICE guideline, the BNF, or, for children the BNFC.

Please note:

Valproate: Sodium valproate and Valproic acid must not be used in females of childbearing potential unless the conditions of the Pregnancy Prevention Programme are met and alternative treatments are ineffective or not tolerated. During pregnancy, it must not be used for epilepsy unless it is the only possible treatment.

For information on doses and side effects VISIT the electronic Medicines Compendium(eMC)British National Formulary (BNF), or British National Formulary for Children (BNFC)where you can view the patient information leaflet (PIL).

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