Experimental treatment options in absence epilepsy
SourceCurrent Pharmaceutical Design, 23, (2017)
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC SMN
Current Pharmaceutical Design
SubjectDeveloping normativity in education; Learning and Plasticity
Background: The benign character of absence epilepsy compared to other genetic generalized epilepsy syndromes has often hampered the search for new treatment options. Absence epilepsy is most often treated with ethosuximide or valproic acid. However, both drugs are not always well tolerated or fail, and seizure freedom for a larger proportion of patients remains to be achieved. The availability of genuine animal models of epilepsy does allow to search for new treatment options not only for absence epilepsy perse but also for other genetic - previously called idiopathic - forms of epilepsy. The recent discovery of a highly excitable cortical zone in these models is considered as a new therapeutic target area. Methods: Here, we provide an overview regarding the search for new therapeutical options as has been investigated in the genetic rodent models (mainly WAG/Rij and GAERS) including drugs and whether antiepileptogenesis can be achieved, various types of electrical and optogenetical invasive stimulations, different types of non-invasive stimulation and finally whether absence seizures can be predicted and prevented. Results: Many factors determine either the cortical and or thalamic excitability or the interaction between cortex and thalamus and offer new possibilities for new anti-absence drugs, among others metabotropic glutamatergic positive and negative allosteric modulators. The inhibition of epileptogenesis by various drugs with its widespread consequences seems feasible, although its mechanisms remain obscure and seems different from the anti-absence action. Surgical intervention on the cortical zone initiating seizures, either with radiosurgery using synchrotron-generated microbeams, or ablation techniques might reduce spike-and-wave discharges in the rodent models. High frequency electrical subcortical or cortical stimulation might be a good way to abort ongoing spike-and-wave discharges. In addition, possibilities for prevention with real-time EEG analyses in combination with electrical stimulation could also be a way to fully control these seizures. Conclusion: Although it is obvious that some of these treatment possibilities will not be used for absence epilepsy and/or need to be further developed, all can be considered as proof of principle and provide clear directives for further developments.
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