New and forthcoming anti-epileptic drugs

Paolo Prunetti, Emilio Perucca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose of review: There is a need for newer anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) with improved efficacy and tolerability. This article reviews AEDs introduced since 2007 and investigational compounds in clinical development. Recent findings: Two recently introduced AEDs, stiripentol and rufinamide, have been licensed exclusively for orphan indications, that is severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy (stiripentol, Europe) and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (rufinamide, Europe and the USA). This signals a welcome new trend to explore novel treatments in specific pediatric syndromes for which there are high therapeutic needs. Two additional AEDs, lacosamide and eslicarbazepine acetate, have been licensed recently for a more traditional indication, refractory partial-onset seizures. Although newly introduced agents given as adjunctive therapy have been found to be superior to placebo in reducing seizure frequency, the ultimate goal of sustained seizure freedom is rarely achieved. Therefore, the search for better agents should continue. Several investigational compounds are currently in various stages of clinical development. Summary: The recent introduction of newer AEDs has enlarged the armamentarium against epilepsy. However, newer agents had only a modest impact on the probability of achieving long-term remission. Novel strategies for the discovery and development of truly innovative AEDs are sorely needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-164
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Neurology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • clinical trials
  • epilepsy
  • new anti-epileptic drugs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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