Cenobamate recommended for use on the NHS

Published: January 25 2022
Last updated: May 12 2023

The National Institute for health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended the use of cenobamate for treating focal onset seizure in adults with hard-to-treat epilepsy on the NHS.

NICE has recommended its use when at least two other epilepsy medicines have not worked. Cenobamate is only recommended as an add-on treatment, after at least one other add-on medicine has not worked.NICE also says that treatment with this medicine should be started by a specialised epilepsy service (tertiary care).

The recommendation is based on evidence from two medical trials, showing the effectiveness of cenobamate. The larger of the two trials showed that cenobamate reduced focal seizures by at least half in nearly two-thirds (65.2%) of people taking the largest dose in the study (400mg). This is compared to a similar reduction in just a quarter of people (25.5%) in the group taking a dummy medicine (placebo). The most commonly seen side-effects with cenobamate were sleepiness, dizziness and tiredness.

Daniel Jennings, senior policy and campaigns officer at Epilepsy Action, said: “We are very pleased that NICE has recommended cenobamate for use in treating people with focal onset seizures, particularly as a treatment for people whose seizures are currently uncontrolled. Epilepsy Action was involved with NICE’s appraisal process on cenobamate and supported proposals to recommend this treatment.

“We know that with the right treatment the number of people whose seizures are controlled could increase significantly. Many people with uncontrolled and hard-to-treat epilepsy have tried a large number of medications without success. We welcome any new treatments that could offer people with epilepsy a better quality of life.”

NICE’s recommendation means cenobamate will be available on the NHS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland is expected to publish its own decision about cenobamate early in 2022.

There is more information on the NICE website.