Pharmacological treatment of focal epilepsy in adults: an evidence based approach

Link to article at PubMed

Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2021 Feb;22(3):317-323. doi: 10.1080/14656566.2020.1829594. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Focal seizures represent the most common seizure type and focal epilepsies the most common epilepsy type. Anti-seizure medications (ASMs) still represent the main form of treatment for epilepsy.

AREAS COVERED: The aim of this review article is to provide an overview of available evidence about current and upcoming pharmacological options and strategies for adults with focal epilepsy focusing on the last 5 years.

EXPERT OPINION: Seventeen drugs are currently approved for the treatment of focal seizures including cenobamate as the very latest option. Ten of these drugs are also licensed for monotherapy. Level A evidence for initial monotherapy is available for seven drugs with no robust data supporting that one drug is superior to the other. Safety, tolerability as well as pharmacoeconomic reasons would then drive treatment decisions. Data on adjunctive treatment are available for 13 ASMs showing again no obvious difference in terms of efficacy. Evidence on specific drug combinations is almost non-existent and the final decision of combining specific drugs is based on the experience of the individual clinician rather than on robust evidence. Current outcome measures do not consider number of previously failed drugs and the observation period is often too short.

PMID:32990097 | DOI:10.1080/14656566.2020.1829594

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