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Scottish NHS watchdog approves zonisamide for partial seizures

8 March, 2006

The Scottish Medicines Consortium
has approved use of the anti-epileptic drug (AED) zonisamide (Zonegran)
in the National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland to treat adults with
partial seizures.

The
consortium's recommendations include that the drug should only be
prescribed by doctors with "appropriate experience" in treating
epilepsy and should be used mainly where older AEDs, such as
carbamazepine or sodium valproate have not worked.

Zonegran's manufacturer, Eisai, said that the drug would not be reviewed by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence,
who can recommend its use in the NHS in England and Wales, until 2008.
Launched in Japan in 1989, Zonegran has now been used in more than one
million patients worldwide.

Eisai highlight a study published in the journal Epilepsia in 2005, where Professor Martin Brodie, from the Western Infirmary
in Glasgow, with colleagues across Europe, used zonisamide in patients
with difficult-to-control partial seizures. The study found that six
per cent of patients treated with zonisamide 500mg daily achieved
freedom from all partial seizures.

The
researchers commented: "Seizure freedom remains the goal for patients
with epilepsy... Despite having highly refractory epilepsy, a high
proportion of patients responded to zonisamide."