Selection criteria for the clinical use of the newer antiepileptic drugs.
SourceCNS Drugs, 17, 6, (2003), pp. 405-21
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectEBP 4: Quality of Care; UMCN 3.2: Cognitive neurosciences
In recent years, several new antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) have been licensed: felbamate, gabapentin, lamotrigine, levetiracetam, oxcarbazepine, tiagabine, topiramate, vigabatrin and zonisamide. These drugs have proven efficacy as add-on therapy in patients with difficult-to-treat partial epilepsy, as 20-50% of patients treated in add-on trials experienced a seizure reduction of >or=50%. Relatively few trials have been conducted to evaluate these drugs as monotherapy for patients with newly diagnosed epilepsy. In the monotherapy trials that have been conducted, the newer drugs were often as efficacious as conventional drugs, and their tolerability was often better. However, the methodology of these trials can be criticised. Because of the relative lack of robust data for the newer agents, the conventional drugs have thus far maintained their status as first-line monotherapy. However, when first-line monotherapy fails, an alternative drug has to be chosen from the available conventional and newer drugs.This article aims to give detailed background information on the newer AEDs in order to enable physicians to make a rational choice from the available drugs for individual patients. Data are provided for the different newer AEDs on mechanisms of action; efficacy in refractory partial epilepsy, newly diagnosed epilepsy in adults and generalised seizure types; adverse effects; pharmacokinetics; and use in special patient categories.
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