Epilepsy Talk

New Hope for Drug Resistant Epilepsy | November 13, 2015

Drug-resistant epilepsy with uncontrolled severe seizures — despite state-of-the-art medical treatment — continues to be a major problem for up to 30% of patients with epilepsy.

Although drug resistance may fluctuate in the course of treatment, for most patients, drug resistance seems to be continuous.

Unfortunately, traditional antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) don’t seem to prevent or reverse drug resistance in most patients.

However, some new add-on AED therapies have shown as much as 50% in seizure reduction.

This research concerns the structural brain lesions that have been associated with drug resistance in epilepsy.

British scientists believe they’ve uncovered the root cause of drug resistant epilepsy through tests on patients’ brain tissue which revealed some seizures are caused by electrical connections between nerve cells instead of chemical ones.

This faulty wiring would explain why traditional drugs are useless and why some patients have to resort to surgery to remove the brain tissue responsible for the seizures.

The researchers took brain tissue removed from people with epilepsy into the lab where, miraculously, they were able to coax it to behave as if it was still part of the living brain.

They were then able to record electrical signals from individual neurons and networks of neurons in the samples.

What they managed to record was an underlying “noise” — a particular type of brain wave — which occurs in the intact epileptic human brain and which scientists believe to be a precursor to an epileptic seizure.

They found that instead of being controlled by chemical signals which most conventional anti-epileptic drugs target, this variation relies on direct electrical connections.

Dr. Cunningham of the study said the next step would be to understand what it is that triggers the transition between the underlying epileptic state of the brain cells and the fluctuating electrical signals that are responsible for causing a seizure.

Simon Wigglesworth of Epilepsy Action said: “This is exciting news for people whose epilepsy cannot be controlled by medication and an important development in our understanding of the condition.

Currently, there is no treatment to cure epilepsy other than surgery, which at the moment is only effective for small numbers.”

“We hope that this research will move us closer to effective treatment”.

Another article of interest: Epilepsy Has Immune Origin in Some Patients


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  1. I have often wondered why they quit using some of the old type meds that I am on like Phenobarbital, Diamox and Dilantin?


    Comment by Jeanine — November 13, 2015 @ 7:53 PM

  2. Actually, they haven’t. There are still people on meds such as Phenobarbital and Dilantin.

    Some people switch drugs a number of times, only to come back to them because they work best for that particular individual.

    What about you?


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — November 14, 2015 @ 9:07 AM

  3. I went to an epilepsy panel discussion last night and they talked about effectiveness of treatments. One thing that was emphasized was that, although it is scary, is that epilepsy surgery should not always be a last resort. They mentioned that, especially in children’s brains which are developing, it is imperative to stop seizures asap, and if surgery can be done, that should be your first choice.

    It is known that if you fail your first medication, any second or third medications have much less chance of working.

    In any case, all possible treatments that are out there that may work gives us hope.

    Thanks for the info!


    Comment by Soo Ihm — November 14, 2015 @ 2:00 PM

  4. Yes, I read that by a renowned professor also.

    Here’s another article you might find interesting:

    Treating Seizures — 7 Amazing New Breakthroughs



    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — November 14, 2015 @ 2:25 PM

  5. Does anyone every taken Onfi or Peganone ? I was just wanting to know what your results our with those meds and how it affects you and does it help your seizure control and sleeping?


    Comment by Corina — December 26, 2015 @ 12:14 PM

    • My son, who has a rare epilepsy called Lafora uses Onfi in addition to several other anti seizure meds. Onfi has been seemingly good at keeping some of the more violent tonic clonic type seizures at bay. A new-ish drug called perempanel has been having good results as well.


      Comment by michael weinberger — August 22, 2017 @ 11:34 AM

      • Thank you for your valuable experience, Michael!


        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — August 22, 2017 @ 3:01 PM

      • I take both and most of the time it helps my seizures and my sleeping I have trouble at times still. Plus I have sleep apnea. There will be nights were I can’t fall into a deep sleep like I want to.


        Comment by Corina Perry — August 22, 2017 @ 4:46 PM

      • Well, I’m glad you’re finding some measure of relief!


        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — August 22, 2017 @ 5:20 PM

  6. I’m sorry, I have no personal experience with it.

    Anybody else???


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — December 27, 2015 @ 11:33 AM

  7. Corina, here’s what the internet says: Onfi: (clobazam) is a benzodiazepine (ben-zoe-dye-AZE-eh-peen). Clobazam affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause anxiety.


    Peganone is used for treating certain types of seizures. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

    Peganone is a hydantoin anticonvulsant. It works by reducing the spread of seizure activity in the brain.


    You can find more detail by going to each link.

    (By the way, http://www.drugs.com is my go-to site when looking up med research. It’s a good source, for future questions or descriptions.)

    Hope this helps.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — December 27, 2015 @ 2:44 PM

  8. Is this information being shared with the USA so that we can start looking into what has been seen and research options that may be avail? When I ask my doc., she has never heard of this. This may be amazing but it has to be looked into by many so we can have answers.


    Comment by Verka — August 22, 2017 @ 8:56 PM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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