Current and emerging treatments for absence seizures in young patients
- Pascal Vrielynck
- Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment
Felbamate, 2-phenyl-1,3-propanediol dicarbamate, is an antiepileptic drug recently approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. It has a novel mechanism of action whereby it may decrease excitation by inhibiting glycine binding at the NMDA receptor, and it appears to have neuroprotective properties in addition to antiepileptic ones. A number of animal models have demonstrated felbamate to have a broad range of efficacy as well as a favorable safety profile. In humans it has been potentially linked to some cases of aplastic anemia. It is effective in the treatment of partial and secondarily generalized tonic-clonic seizures as well as seizures associated with the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, especially drop attacks. It may also be effective against atypical absence as well as other seizure types. Felbamate monotherapy is generally well tolerated, with such side effects as insomnia and anorexia occurring most commonly. Felbamate shows great promise as a useful antiepileptic drug, but its role in clinical practice awaits further investigation of recently reported cases of aplastic anemia.