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of everyone affected by epilepsy

Epilepsy professionals issue new guidelines for treatment

28 April, 2004

The American Academy of Neurology and the American Epilepsy Society have issued new guidelines for the treatment of epilepsy with newer anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs).

The
organisations cited the number of drugs available to treat epilepsy
have more than doubled in the last decade and in assembling the top
experts in the field to evaluate the available data of more than 1,400
research articles in order to create these guidelines.

Andres Kanner, professor of neurological sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and an author of the guidelines, said:

"The
guidelines offer a rigorous, comprehensive and unbiased analysis of the
available data on the safety, efficacy and mode of use of these AEDs
that the clinician can use in making treatment decisions. This thorough
review of the current research on epilepsy can also have a major impact
on deciding what our priorities for future research should be."

Two
sets of guidelines have been produced, one to treat newly diagnosed
epilepsy and one to treat epilepsy that has already proved difficult to
manage with the older drugs.

Dr Jacqueline French, professor of neurology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and another of the authors of the guidelines, commented:

"The FDA [Food and Drug Administration]
drug approval process, which requires placebo (or near-placebo)
-controlled trials, makes it very difficult to gather some of the kinds
of information we need. With a life-threatening illness, it is not
possible to take people off all medications. We have to use other
evidence of effectiveness, as well as European trials where new drugs
are compared to older medications, to do our analysis."