compared the level of side effects in epilepsy treatments where the
level of medication given is fixed (as in clinical trials) to
treatments where medication levels are flexible (the usual clinical
The study, published in the journal Epilepsia, compared an anti-epileptic drug (AED) used for treatment of partial epilepsy in adults, in conjunction with other AEDs.
to the researchers, while clinical trials have traditionally used fixed
doses throughout a treatment period, in practice the adjustment of the
dose can be varied to improve the effectiveness of the treatment, based
on the patient's response.
showed that both types of treatment were highly effective in reducing
seizure frequency in people with difficult-to-control epilepsy.
Lead researcher Dr Christian Elger, from the University of Bonn, commented:
ability to adjust the dose also permitted the patients to remain on
this particular AED (pregabalin) longer since they experienced fewer
side-effects and did not drop out of the study (76 per cent for
flexible dose versus 58 per cent for fixed dose completed the study).
It also shows that studies copying the clinical picture of epilepsy
treatment give more realistic data on the balance between efficacy and
tolerability of an antiepileptic drug.
study demonstrates a significant clinical advantage in treating
patients with epilepsy when their dose is adjusted according to the