Could Adult Epilepsy Medication Be Effective for Children?

girl looking at pillsIt can be difficult to draw the line between the differences in adults in children in medicine sometimes. Our bodies can respond differently to treatments depending on our physical development. Now researchers studying the use of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) have gotten closer to understanding their use to treat epilepsy in children.

Results from this meta-analysis were presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 2017 Annual Meeting. Its authors say it represents a step toward endorsing the extrapolation of adult seizure research data to the treatment of epilepsy in children.

The study found that AEDs used to treat generalized tonic-clonic seizures in adults are also useful for managing the same type of seizures in children older than 4 years old. Using adult research data when devising treatment is already an accepted practice for focal (partial) seizures.

The study authors say their research supports the need to forego additional pediatric research when an antiepileptic drug is already shown to be effective in adults.

Why Is This Study Important?

The authors say information about new AEDs accepted for use in adults should also be given to pediatricians without the need for further study. Currently, approval for use of an AED by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is only given for adolescents and adults. Drug trials for approval to treat epilepsy in children typically occur afterward, with treatments not becoming available to children until much later.

Research like this establishes a firm link between the ability to extrapolate the effectiveness of a treatment in adults to its effectiveness in children with the same types of seizures. Based on research like this, the number of clinical trials needed to gain FDA approval will be lessened. More effective treatments for epilepsy in children will become available sooner.