Flexible drug dosing produces less side-effects in people with epilepsy

December 27, 2005

For the first time, researchers compared dosing regimens of an antiepileptic drug (AED) used for treatment of partial epilepsy in adults, in conjunction with other AEDs. They looked at dosing used in clinical everyday life (flexible dosing) and that used in classical clinical trials (fixed dose) and discovered that the flexible dosing method was superior. The study is published in Epilepsia, the official journal of the International League Against Epilepsy.

Researchers observed how patients responded to these two methods of dosing therapy over a 12-week period. According to the researchers, while clinical trials have traditionally used fixed doses throughout a treatment period, clinical practice allows for the gradual adjustment of medication dose to enhance patient tolerability and enable optimum effective dosing, based on individual patient response.

Results showed that both regimens were highly effective in reducing seizure frequency in patients who were refractory to treatment. However, "the ability to adjust the dose also permitted the patients to remain on this particular AED (pregabalin) longer since they experienced fewer side-effects and did not drop out of the study (76% for flexible dose versus 58% for fixed dose completed the study)," states lead researcher, Christian Elger. "It also shows that studies copying the clinical picture of epilepsy treatment give more realistic data on the balance between efficacy and tolerability of an antiepileptic drug."

The study demonstrates a significant clinical advantage in treating patients with epilepsy when their dose is adjusted according to the individual patient.
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This study is published in the December issue of Epilepsia . Media who would like to receive a PDF of the study please contact vpittman@bos.blackwellpublishing.com.

Christian E. Elger, MD, Ph.D., FRCP is affiliated with the Department of Epileptology at the University of Bonn. He is currently Associate Editor of both Epilepsy and Behavior and Brain. Dr. Elger can be reached for questions and interviews at +49 (0228) 487-5727. About Epilepsia
Epilepsia is the leading, most authoritative source for current clinical and research results on all aspects of epilepsy. As the journal of the International League Against Epilepsy, Epilepsia presents subscribers with scientific evidence and clinical methodology in: clinical neurology, neurophysiology, molecular biology, neuroimaging, neurochemistry, neurosurgery, pharmacology, neuroepidemiology, and therapeutic trials. Each monthly issue features original peer reviewed articles, progress in epilepsy research, brief communications, editorial commentaries, special supplements, meeting reports, book reviews, and announcements.

About the International League Against Epilepsy
The International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) is the world's preeminent association of physicians and other health professionals working towards a world where no persons' life is limited by Epilepsy. Its mission is to provide the highest quality of care and well-being for those afflicted with the condition and other related seizure disorders. The League aims: 1. To advance and disseminate knowledge about epilepsy; 2. To promote research, education and training; 3. To improve services and care for patients, especially by prevention, diagnosis and treatment. For more information on the ILAE, visit www.ilae.org.

About Blackwell Publishing
Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with more than 600 academic and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 750 journals annually and, to date has published close to 6,000 text and reference books, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects.

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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