New Drug for Children with Epilepsy

August 8, 1999

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, partial onset seizures (also called petit mal seizures) affect approximately half of the 750,000 children under the age of 18 who have epilepsy. These seizures affect only part of the brain and may cause involuntary movements, sensory problems and altered states of consciousness. Now a new drug to treat these symptoms in young patients is available.

On July 26, 1999, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of a drug called topiramate to treat children between the ages of 2 and 16 years old who suffer from partial onset seizures. Although topiramate has been approved by the FDA to treat partial seizures in adults since December 24, 1996, this drug is the first to gain approval for children with this disorder. This is great news because many young patients do not respond to traditional anti-epileptic drugs.

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