Medical management of refractory epilepsy—Practical treatment with novel antiepileptic drugs

Authors

  • Elinor Ben-Menachem

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Clinical Neuroscience and Physiology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Goteborg, Sweden
    • Address correspondence to Elinor Ben-Menachem, Institute of Clinical Neuroscience and Physiology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, 413 45 Goteborg, Sweden. E-mail: elinor.ben-menachem@neuro.gu.se

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Summary

The ultimate treatment goal in epilepsy therapy is always freedom from seizures with as few treatment adverse effects as possible. If seizures persist with the first monotherapy, alternative monotherapy with another antiepileptic drug (AED) should be considered. Continuing seizures should lead to a reevaluation of differential diagnosis and adherence. Epilepsy surgery as an alternative therapy may be suitable in selected cases. If the diagnosis of epilepsy is established and epilepsy surgery is not appropriate, AED treatment should be optimized. Evidence for how to proceed is lacking. Concepts such as rational polytherapy have been advocated but remain speculative concerning better efficacy based on the use of AEDs with differing modes of action. A variety of new AEDs including rufinamide, lacosamide, vigabatrin, perampanel, and retigabine have been recently introduced in the United States. They are briefly characterized in this update review.

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