Responding to the announced FDA approval of pregabalin (marketed under the brand name Lyrica) in the treatment of epilepsy, representatives of the Epilepsy Foundation said the medication is a much anticipated new option in controlling difficult to treat seizures. In a recently released announcement, the Pfizer drug was approved as add-on therapy for adults with partial onset seizures.
Gregory L. Barkley, M.D., chair of the Foundation’s Professional Advisory Board, said that, “Pregabalin is more potent than gabapentin and could help people whose seizures are not fully controlled by that drug.” Gabapentin, another Pfizer product (marketed under the brand name Neurontin), has been marketed as a treatment for epilepsy in the U.S. since 1994. He added that, “The FDA approval of Lyrica is a much anticipated and welcome new development for physicians and their epilepsy patients.” Dr. Barkley is medical director for the neuromagnetism laboratory at Henry Ford Hospital-Oakland University, medical director of the Henry Ford Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, and associate professor at Case Western University.
Partial seizures begin in a part of the brain limited to one hemisphere and produce a range of symptoms including altered consciousness, the inability to respond, and involuntary movements that are out of time and place. Complex partial seizures can be misinterpreted as antisocial behavior when they occur in public, sometimes resulting in the person being harmed by unnecessary restraint and, occasionally, incarceration.
The Epilepsy Foundation is the national health voluntary that helps individuals and families affected by seizures in coping with the impact of the disorder on their lives. The organization, with its national network of local affiliates, leads the fight for more research, better therapies, the removal of social barriers, and access to quality care, so not a single moment will be lost to seizures.