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Lab test finds epilepsy drug may help ALS patients

Category: General Health

A preliminary test has found that the drug talampanel, which is currently being used to treat symptoms for epilepsy, may be able to slow the muscle weakening associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Researchers from Indiana University and Johns Hopkins found that the drug safely slowed the deterioration of some daily activities of ALS patients including speaking, walking and dressing.

"The research demonstrates that talampanel appears able to slow the progression of disabling ALS symptoms," said Dr Jeffrey Rothstein, senior scientist on the study.

"The effect isn't overwhelming at the dosage of medicine used in this early, very small trial," he adds. "Still, having promising human data is reason enough to keep it in the drug pipeline where we can really find out where it stands for patients."

The Phase II testing of talampanel was only designed to discover its competency and safety on a small scale. Larger trials will need to be conducted before research moves forward.

An international trial is currently under way and should be completed by the end of 2010.

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