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New epilepsy drug approved

Category: General Health

RTT News reported that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the antiepileptic drug Fycompa on Oct. 22. The drug targets receptors in the body that are responsible for producing epileptic seizures.
According to the news source, the approval was based on three clinical trials, during which the patients who took Fycompa fared better in terms of seizure control than their counterparts who took placebos.

Some of the negative side effects that will be listed on the the drug's box include irritability, aggression, anger, anxiety, paranoia, euphoric mood, agitation and mental status changes. The warning label is due to the psychiatric issues that were observed in some of the patients who took Fycompa during the clinical trials, RTT noted.

Fycompa has already been approved in the European Union and it is currently in phase III study in Asia.

Epilepsy causes and symptoms
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), epilepsy, which is a brain disorder that induces seizures, can be caused by stroke, dementia, traumatic brain injury, abnormal blood vessels in the brain and certain drugs like tramadol, cocaine and amphetamines.

While seizures are the main symptom of epilepsy, sometimes it can cause simple staring spells, while other times it results in violent shaking and a lack of alertness. There are three main types of seizures, which vary in severity. These include absence seizures, generalized tonic-clonic seizures - seizures that involve the entire body - and partial seizures.

Diagnosis and treatment
In order to diagnose a seizure, the doctor first needs to know if a seizure occurred and what kind of seizure it was, reports the Epilepsy Therapy Project. This is done by analyzing the patient's medical records, blood testing, EEG tests and brain imaging tests. While medication like Fycompa is usually used to help treat epilepsy, sometimes surgery is required to remove abnormal brain cells or treat bleeding in the brain or a tumor.

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