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Once-a-Day Epilepsy Drug Is Effective for Partial Seizures

The epilepsy drug lamotrigine is effective in controlling partial seizures when taken once a day as an added therapy, according to a study published in the October 16, 2007, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“These results are important because maintaining stable blood levels of epilepsy drugs and good control of seizures depends on people taking their medications reliably and consistently,” said study author Dean Naritoku, MD, of Southern Illinois University in Springfield and member of the American Academy of Neurology. “The more often people have to remember to take their medication each day, the more likely they are to miss a dose. Once-a-day dosing is more convenient for patients.”

The study involved 239 people from the United States and several other countries. Participants were age 13 and older with partial seizures not fully controlled by medication. Some of the participants also had secondary generalized seizures. The participants were already taking one to two epilepsy medications; lamotrigine was added to their therapy. They received either lamotrigine in an extended-release formula or placebo for 19 weeks.

Those taking lamotrigine as an added therapy had 46 percent fewer partial seizures during the study, compared to 24 percent fewer for those taking a placebo. In addition, 42 percent of those taking lamotrigine as an added therapy reduced their seizure frequently by at least half by the end of the study, compared to 24 percent of those taking a placebo.

“This new once daily medication may be an important option for people with epilepsy that could significantly increase their compliance with prescribed treatment,” said Naritoku.

The most common side effects were headache, which was experienced by 17 percent of those taking lamotrigine and 15 percent of those taking placebo, and dizziness, which was experienced by 18 percent of those taking lamotrigine and five percent of those taking placebo.

The study was sponsored and conducted by GlaxoSmithKline.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 20,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit

Angela Babb | AAN Press
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