New Drugs for Seizures: Are They Helping?
(Mesa, AZ) ? May 11, 2016 – The last decade has seen rapid development of several new, fancy and expensive anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs). But the question to be asked is, have these new drugs actually added any benefit at all to the management of seizures or are they just suppressing the visible symptoms without weeding out the underlying medical and by extension, the lifestyle problem of the patients?
Neurologists these days prefer to use these newer drugs over the old drugs which were used for decades. These new drugs include sodium valproate (Depakote), levetiracetam (Keppra) or topiramate (Topamax) contrasted with older mainstay drugs phenytoin (Dilantin).These drugs are increasingly being used to treat migraines and bipolar depression as well.
What is glaring to note, is that the way that neurologists and psychiatrists manage the brain health of patients suffering with epilepsy and migraines has remained more or less the same. Suppression of seizures or the ability of patients to get out of bed is deemed successful treatment, but no lifestyle change is proposed to the patient to maintain the brain’s health through diet, supplementation and so forth. Medical research has examined the important role that lifestyle plays in the maintenance of brain health.
In one study, researchers looked at 1617 patients to determine the actual benefits that the new drugs have added to the management of seizures from 2000 to 2010. The results were astounding. In 2000, 20.5% required more than one drug to remain seizure free for at least 1 year. By 2010, a pretty identical 20.4% required combination therapy. By observing the combinations of drugs used by the patients in this study, researchers concluded that when used as adjunctive therapies, the newer drugs did not help a patient become seizure free.
Newer drugs are much more expensive, but lack any dramatic improvement when compared to the older drugs. These drugs may also have unexpected long-term side effects as they work on complicated neurological pathways. In addition to this, as we intend to expand the use of AEDs to treating other conditions like migraines, depression, bipolar disorder and diabetic neuropathy, the potential for problems due to greater use of these drugs is imminent.
If a neurologist, psychiatrist or a primary care doctor tries to balance the symptoms purely by adding on new medication without suggesting lifestyle changes which can heal your brain, it may be time to find a new one.
Dr. James Bogash typically scans more than one hundred peer-reviewed medical journals per month, looking for the latest research on natural medicine, nutrition, disease prevention and disease management, especially as it relates to seizures and migraine headaches. With this knowledge, he helps readers find the cause of his or her problems, and ways by which he or she can prevent them from recurring, rather than focusing only on symptoms.
James Bogash, DC
1830 S. Alma School Rd #125
Mesa, AZ 85210
Tel. (480) 839-2273