Epilepsy Talk

28 New Epilepsy Medicines In Development | April 17, 2017

A newly-released report from Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) has revealed that 28 new medications are in development to treat epilepsy and seizures.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

These 28 new drugs are among nearly 420 new ground-breaking medicines in progress to treat neurological disorders.

Of the 28 epilepsy medicines listed in the report, seven are in or have completed phase one of development, eight are in or have completed phase two and, thirteen are in or have completed phase three.

The large number of drugs currently in clinical trials provides a measure of hope for patients whose epilepsy is not controlled with currently available medication.

In the future, this range of antiepileptic drugs will probably increase because of the use of new animal models, discovery of new basic mechanisms of epileptogenesis, acceleration of proof of principle studies in people, and development of new methods of drug delivery.

Other potential medicines – all in human clinical trials or under review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – are diverse in scope.

They include:

62 for brain tumors – primary brain tumors are diagnosed each year in nearly 70,000 Americans…
82 medicines for Alzheimer’s disease, which afflicts more than 5 million Americans…
82 for pain – aiding adults who experience chronic pain, approximately 100 million Americans…
38 for multiple sclerosis, which afflicts an estimated 500,000 Americans…
27 for Parkinson’s Disease, affecting as many as 1.5 million Americans…
25 for headache, a condition that affects about 28 million Americans…

“Collaboration among all partners in the medical innovation ecosystem – including patients – is critical to help advance scientific understanding of some of the most complicated neurological disorders,” added PhRMA President and CEO John J. Castellani.

“Even with all the advancements made to date — and the hope provided in the pipeline — we have much to learn about how the human brain functions.

“Together, we can make it happen.”

NOTE: The BRAIN Initiative

The BRAIN Initiative aims to accelerate the development and application of new technologies to help researchers understand the inter-workings of the brain, leading to new ways to treat and maybe one day prevent or cure diseases, such as epilepsy Alzheimer’s and traumatic brain injury.

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  1. I hope they have something for my chronic pain that I don’t have to worry about addiction problems. As it is I watch my meds.


    Comment by Gwen — April 17, 2017 @ 6:56 PM

  2. We can only hope. With all that paranoia about opiates out there, you’d think they would come out with a viable alternative.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — April 17, 2017 @ 6:58 PM

  3. How do people get involved in clinical trials?


    Comment by Kate Jacques — April 17, 2017 @ 8:13 PM

  4. There is more up to date data available on Neurology related clinical trials (including for Epilepsy) at


    The data is presented by therapeutic area and by location, including key overseas sites.

    There are no doubt other good sites.

    There are as most of us know four phases to drug testing. Phases 1, 2 and 3 are needed to provide the full range of data needed to submit a New Drug Application dossier to the FDA.

    Phase 4 (so called post marketing trials) are undertaken after FDA approval and launch of a new drug (or a newly approved indication for an existing drug,) Phase 4 trials are in some respects commercially oriented trials rather than fundamental basic research trials. However they provide opportunities for some people to get a type of treatment (for free) that might not be available to them otherwise.


    Comment by Michael H — April 17, 2017 @ 10:18 PM

  5. So how many of these 28 new drugs will not have metals, MSG’s, ASPARTAME’s & other toxic seizure triggers & memory problems we have all had with the previous drugs that’s been years on the market now ? We need just ONE anti-epileptic drug that control 2 things. GLUCOSE & GLUTAMATE LEVELS in the blood count level / brain barrier, with no MSG or ASPARTAME chemicals in that drug. No FORMALDEHYDE aka CROSPOVIDONE. Are there any BIG PHARMA EYES READING THIS ? $$$$$$ < is what you will have, for a drug I know I need, that is not available today to STOP ANY GRAND MAL SEIZURE & maybe all seizure activity with them, when GRAND MALS do not happen. Been waiting now for 56 + years for such a drug. Do they really care to have a drug to do what I need it to do ? Not really.


    Comment by C D — April 17, 2017 @ 10:26 PM

  6. Respectfully we need more than one one drug because people can react differently to any single drug. For example Vimpat and Dilantin each help millions of people but each also cause unbearable reactions/side effects in many (millions?) of others.

    Also Formaldehyde is not the same as Crospovidone.

    “Crospovidone (cross linked polyvinyl N-pyrrolidone, or PVP) is a common, FDA-approved inactive ingredient used in the pharmaceutical industry. Crospovidone is often combined with active ingredients in medications and dietary supplements to allow absorption of the active drug.”

    “Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring organic compound with the formula CH₂O. It is the simplest of the aldehydes and is also known by its systematic name methanal.” I might add that it is toxic!

    Please rest assured that the Pharmaceutical industry would love to find a (patentable) drug to control epilepsy. Drugs that work well with minimal side effects earn them much more than drugs with dreadful side effects that people can’t tolerate.

    I do however understand your frustration. Most of us will never be “cured”. We will at best be well controlled with tolerable side effects. My 40 plus years of Dilantin (Phenytoin) has not been without problems!


    Comment by Michael H — April 17, 2017 @ 11:18 PM

  7. Sounds good. Only thing is I live in SA so who knows when any will be available here. There is one being released here in May – the first in 10 years 😦


    Comment by Michelle — April 18, 2017 @ 9:10 AM

  8. That’s a long time coming, but it’s a start.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — April 18, 2017 @ 9:14 AM

  9. The cost of the newer ones today are too expensive. How much are these going to cost?


    Comment by Tammy Wescott — April 18, 2017 @ 12:47 PM

  10. Good question. Scary question, because they’ll all have patents on them. (No generics here, probably.)


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — April 18, 2017 @ 2:33 PM

  11. Holy Moly! We haven’t had a burst of drugs like that be released since 1998-2001. I’m going to have to chase down your links.

    With my nerve pain I refuse to be on opioids. I tried using a leftover Oxy number of years back when the pain was horrible one night and it did NOTHING. The drug they have me on sort of is working (Neurontin). The previous drug I was on for seizures helped with pain (Lyrica) but I REFUSE to go back on it because side effects.

    After being on SO MANY drugs, as many as 4 at the same time just for my seizures, I want to be on as few as possible now after that successful surgery. Being on drugs since 1981 I’m sure has done more damage than I know of. Thankfully the worst of the bunch I wasn’t on terribly long (my worse 3: Pheno, Dilantin, Depakote).

    Thank you so much for your articles Phylis!


    Comment by Travis — April 28, 2017 @ 1:04 AM

    • My husband gained 40 pounds on Lyrica. So, I can see your reluctance. He’s also on Neurontin for nerve pain, but it doesn’t do much.

      Here’s hoping your med batch goes down, significantly. Soon!

      Thanks for the compliment, Travis!


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — April 28, 2017 @ 8:54 AM

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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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