Epilepsy is a condition in which the brain is affected by abnormal discharge of electrical activity, causing seizures (fits). There are several different types of epileptic seizures, depending on what part of the brain they start in and which part they affect. Epilepsy can start in any age, but is most common in either childhood or after the age of 60. It is a lifelong condition, however, it may get slowly better over time. Symptoms of epileptic seizures depends on the type of epilepsy (partial or generalised) but may include a complete loss of consciousness or awareness (‘blank-out’), unusual movements such as a person’s limbs jerking and stiffness in all or parts of the body.
Treatment options usually include single anti-epileptic drugs which adequately control the epilepsy in most people. However, in the cases where people do not improve with one anti-epileptic drug additional (‘add on’ or ‘adjunctive’) anti-epileptic therapies may be necessary.
Perampanel is a new class of oral anti-epileptic drug that reduces the abnormal electrical activity in the brain. It is already licensed in the UK as an “add-on” therapy taken by tablets daily for the treatment of epilepsy in people aged over 12 years old. It is currently being developed as an oral suspension for children aged 4-12 years, and will offer an additional ‘add-on’ treatment option for this patient group.