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15-04-2016 | Neurology | News | Article

News in brief

AAN 68th annual meeting

medwireNews: Research from the American Academy of Neurology’s 68th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, shows that a common antihistamine could partially reverse chronic vision damage in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and a once-a-day epilepsy treatment may be comparable to one taken twice a day for controlling seizures.

Drug holds promise for MS vision repair

A 5-month, crossover study of the over-the-counter antihistamine clemastine involving 50 patients with MS and chronic demyelinating optic neuropathy has shown that while on this treatment visual evoked potential latency delay was reduced by an average 1.9 ms in each eye, a significant difference relative to placebo treatment.

“While the improvement in vision appears modest, this study is promising because it is the first time a drug has been shown to possibly reverse the damage done by MS”, study author Ari Green (University of California, San Francisco, USA) said in a press release. “Findings are preliminary, but this study provides a framework for future MS repair studies and will hopefully herald discoveries that will enhance the brain’s innate capacity for repair.”

Seizure control of once-a-day antiepileptic measures up

Eslicarbazepine acetate (ESL) is a once-a-day drug approved for the treatment of partial-onset seizures. In a non-inferiority study, it has shown comparable seizure control to that of the twice-a-day drug controlled-release carbamazepine (CBZ-CR).

In all, 815 newly diagnosed patients received ESL or CBZ-CR at a starting dose of 800 mg or 200 mg, respectively, with a two-step dose increase with the occurrence of further seizures to a maximum of 1600 mg and 600 mg, respectively.

After 6 months, 71% of 388 patients taking ESL and 76% of 397 taking CBZ-CR were seizure free, giving an average nonsignificant risk difference of 4.28%. Similarly, the 1-year seizure rate was comparable at 65% and 70%, respectively.

“Memory issues, fatigue, or a complicated medication schedule can all interfere with a person taking their seizure-control medications on a regular basis so having a once-daily option for patients, especially when they are newly diagnosed and still learning to manage the disease, may be beneficial”, lead author Elinor Ben-Menachem (Gothenburg University, Sweden) said in a press release. “The hope is that these results may also give doctors more options to better tailor treatments for people with epilepsy.”

By Lucy Piper

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