Most Epilepsy Patients Benefit From Current Medications, But Look Forward to New Treatments

According to a story from Scimex, a recent assessment of available treatments for Dravet syndrome and other types of epilepsy has reaffirmed that anticonvulsant medications are still the most effective form of treatment. Anticonvulsants are widely used in treating epileptic disorders, with many patients finding long-term seizure relief. However, about a third of patients still experience occasional seizures. Thankfully, some new treatment methods are beginning to show potential.
Dravet syndrome is a type of epilepsy that begins very early in life, with the first symptoms appearing at about six months old. Compared to other types of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome can be challenging to manage because seizures can be easily triggered by high temperatures and fever. The syndrome can cause problems with behavior, ataxia and other movement problems, cognitive impairment, and sleeping problems. Seizure events often become progressively worse over time. Dravet syndrome is caused by a genetic disorder, but in most cases it is not inherited from a parent. To learn more about Dravet syndrome, click here.

Anticonvulsant medications have been steadily improved over time, primarily in their tolerability and safety; however, their effectiveness in treating epileptic disorders has not really increased otherwise. With this in mind, it is clear that there is a significant need for improvements in effectiveness for treatment.

However, some new methods have provided significant benefits for some patients. Surgery may be a viable option for some, though many providers are reluctant to consider it a possibility. This appears to be an underused treatment option as it can be a viable alternative if anticonvulsants are not effective. A ketogenic, high fat, low carb diet is also useful in reducing the severity of symptoms for Dravet syndrome and other epilepsy variants. Deep brain stimulation has also shown some success.
In patients with severe forms of epilepsy like Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, cannabidiol, a compound derived from medical cannabis, has also demonstrated effectiveness in halting seizures. Cannabidiol has gotten orphan drug status from the FDA, which will allow studies to continue to further demonstrate the effectiveness of this option. Hopefully, some of these new treatment techniques will be able to become more popular and supplant anticonvulsants in the future.

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