The clinical impact of new antiepileptic drugs after a decade of use in epilepsy

Author(s): Schmidt D


The introduction of numerous effective, well tolerated and safe new antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in the last decade of the 20th century has widened the choice of treatment options in epilepsy and improved the tolerability and the ease of use of treating patients with epilepsy. Nevertheless, significant safety and efficacy deficits continue to exist. Severe idiosyncratic reactions and organ toxicity have hampered the wide use of some of the newer AEDs. As a decade before, about one third of patients with chronic epilepsy is resistant to current pharmacotherapy. Even in patients in whom pharmacotherapy is efficacious, current AED do not seem to affect the progression or the underlying natural history of epilepsy. In addition, there is currently no drug available which prevents the development of epilepsy, e.g. after head trauma. Thus, there is an unmet need for safer and more effective drugs, especially for chronic, drug-resistant epilepsy. To stimulate the development of even better compounds, the demonstrated benefits and risks of current new AEDs are reviewed.

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