In the past decade, several new antiepileptic drugs have been tested. Most recently, 5 new antiepileptic drugs have been launched onto European and US markets. These include vigabatrin, oxcarbazepine and lamotrigine in Europe, and felbamate and gabapentin in the US. In addition to these, 3 additional drugs are in the clinical investigational stage: flunarizine, fosphenytoin and stiripentol. A fourth agent is midazolam, which was originally introduced in 1986, but recently has shown effectiveness in the treatment of status epilepticus. Flunarizine is a selective calcium channel blocker that has shown anticonvulsant properties in both animal and human studies. It is a long-acting anticonvulsant that clinical studies have shown to have effects similar to those of phenytoin and carbamazepine in the treatment of partial, complex partial and generalised seizures. Fosphenytoin was developed to eliminate the poor aqueous solubility and irritant properties of intravenous phenytoin. It is rapidly converted to phenytoin after intravenous or intramuscular administration. In clinical studies, this prodrug showed minimal evidence of adverse events and no serious cardiovascular or respiratory adverse reactions. It may have a clear advantage over the present parenteral formulation of phenytoin. Midazolam is a benzodiazepine that is more potent than diazepam as a sedative, muscle relaxant and in its influence on electroencephalographic measures. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for refractory seizures in status epilepticus. Stiripentol has anticonvulsant properties as well as the ability to inhibit the cytochrome P450 system. There are significant metabolic drug interactions between stiripentol and phenytoin, carbamazepine and phenobarbital (phenobarbi-tone). Stiripentol has been studied in patients with partial seizures, refractory epilepsy and refractory absence seizures with some efficacious results.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)