Author(s): Goa KL, Ross SR, Chrisp P
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Abstract Lamotrigine is an antiepileptic drug which is believed to suppress seizures by inhibiting the release of excitatory neurotransmitters. Efficacy has been demonstrated for lamotrigine as add-on therapy to existing regimens in patients with resistant partial seizures. Total seizure frequency was reduced by 17 to 59\% compared with placebo, and 13 to 67\% of patients experienced reductions of > or = 50\% in seizure frequency. Secondarily generalised tonic-clonic seizures respond well to lamotrigine, and there is preliminary evidence of improvement in patients with primary generalised seizures, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and in children with multiple seizure types. Seizure control has been maintained in patients who have continued to receive lamotrigine as monotherapy after discontinuation of other medications. Results of one trial suggest similar efficacy for lamotrigine monotherapy as for carbamazepine, but confirmation of its use in this setting awaits more extensive controlled comparisons with established agents. Adverse events associated with lamotrigine as add-on therapy are typical of antiepileptic drugs, namely dizziness, ataxia and other CNS-related symptoms. Rash, which has occurred in 10\% of patients in placebo-controlled trials, may be severe and its appearance has led to discontinuation of therapy in 1\% of patients. Lamotrigine appears well tolerated in the longer term, but this facet of its profile requires further monitoring. Influences of valproic acid and enzyme-inducing anti-epileptics on lamotrigine eliminate necessitate dosage modification of lamotrigine. Conversely, lamotrigine has little apparent influence on the pharmacokinetics of other agents, although it may increase plasma concentrations of the active metabolite of carbamazepine during concomitant administration. Thus, lamotrigine permits improved seizure control in some patients with refractory partial seizures, and may prove to be especially effective in secondarily generalised tonic-clonic seizures. As is usual at this stage in a drug's development, several aspects of the profile of lamotrigine are incompletely defined, notably its efficacy in other seizure types, in children, as monotherapy, and its longer term tolerability. Nonetheless, lamotrigine presently offers a worthwhile alternative for the physician confronted with the challenge of treating patients with intractable partial seizures with or without secondarily generalised seizures, and shows potential for broader applications in other areas of epilepsy management.
This article was published in Drugs
and referenced in Journal of Bioequivalence & Bioavailability