Neurologists Welcome New Antiepileptic Drug

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms focusing on pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that surveyed neurologists would welcome an adjunctive antiepileptic drug (AED) that is administered once-daily. According to U.S. neurologists, a drug of this type would earn a 25 percent patient share in epilepsy and according to European neurologists, such an agent would earn 35 percent patient share.

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According to the new report entitled Epilepsy: Opportunity Exists for Improved AEDs Despite Numerous Market Pressures, these robust patient shares highlight surveyed neurologists' keen interest in AEDs with less-frequent dosing. Nevertheless, these patient shares are considerably higher than those typically attained by adjunctive AEDs, given neurologists' generally conservative adoption of new epilepsy therapies as well as adjunctive AEDs' use primarily in refractory patients. Consequently, it is not expected that emerging adjunctive AEDs will capture such generous patient shares.

The report also finds that UCB's Keppra XR will earn Decision Resources' proprietary clinical gold standard status for the adjunctive treatment of partial-onset epilepsy by 2012 as interviewed specialists indicate that the drug has competitive advantages in safety and delivery attributes over GlaxoSmithKline's sales-leading Lamictal. According to surveyed neurologists, Keppra XR is perceived as having a lower risk of serious side effects and offers the advantage of once-daily dosing, which is considered to be the ideal AED dosing frequency for epilepsy patients.

"With its high cost and the high level of physician comfort in prescribing the drug as an add-on therapy, Lamictal became the epilepsy sales leader in 2007, ahead of the 2007 clinical gold standard immediate-release Keppra," said Bethany Kiernan, Ph.D., analyst at Decision Resources. "However, Keppra XR, which has now launched in the United States, provides improved convenience over both Lamictal and immediate-release Keppra while retaining a favorable efficacy and safety and tolerability profile."

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