Stories about medication
Epilepsy support groups in Ireland have repeated their call for the Irish government to change new legislation concerning epilepsy medicines.
The new laws would mean that branded epilepsy medicines (AEDs) could be substituted with a generic version by pharmacists. This poses a risk to patients because any variation in the composition of AEDs can cause changes in the brain. These changes can result in breakthrough seizures.
Researchers, led by Shuk-Li Man, analysed prescribing trends for anti-epileptic drugs from 1994 to 2009. The results show that prescribing of newer medicines has steadily increased. Lamotrigine has been the most popular medicine prescribed in pregnancy since 2004. However, the use of carbamazepine and sodium valporate has decreased.
The study has been largely funded by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The administration has previously produced guidelines to make sure that the generic version of a drug is virtually identical to its branded counterpart. These guidelines allow a certain margin of difference, within which a generic drug is supposedly just as effective.
Brainwave, the Irish Epilepsy Association, has pressed 40 members of parliament in the Republic of Ireland to exclude epilepsy from the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Bill 2012.