Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Eslicarbazepine (ESL)

It is always good to see new epilepsy medications being developed. This article from eMaxHealth describes Eslicarbazepine (ESL).

A new study appearing in the latest issue of Epilepsia shows that a new drug called Eslicarbazepine (ESL) shows promise as a treatment for epilepsy patients whose symptoms remain uncontrolled with existing medications. A once-daily dose was shown to be most effective, offering patients added convenience as current treatments can involve several doses per day.

The trial was conducted across 19 locations in five European countries: Croatia, The Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania and Poland. Patients with at least four partial-onset seizures per month, in spite of treatment with other medications, were administered Eslicarbazepine doses ranging between 400mg and 1,200mg. The study demonstrates that ESL is well tolerated and effective when used as adjunct therapy for adult patients with partial epilepsy, fully eliminating seizures in 24 percent of tested patients. The occurrence of side effects was also low compared to other current treatment methods.

No age- or gender-related differences were found in the effectiveness of the treatment. "Our study shows that ESL was safe and well tolerated," says PatrĂ­cio Soares-da-Silva, co-author of the study. "We believe that Eslicarbazepine may have the potential to become an important new central nervous system drug not only for the treatment of epilepsy, but also for patients suffering from bipolar disorder and neuropathic pain."

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Recovery from a Seizure

How long does it take to recover from a tonic-clonic (gran mal) seizure?

I believe the time varies by person, but in my case, it has changed with medicines, VNS treatment, and age. I first started having seizures when I was 12, I think that first tonic-clonic seizure was strong enough that I slept the entire day... maybe part of the next one as well. As one typically falls down when having a tonic-clonic seizure, recovery time depends a lot on what you hit and where. Those times when I have banged my head up very badly, it took longer to recover - if only because the physical wounds have to heal. Of course, if you fall hard enough on your head, you can get a concussion and that can increase the recovery time as well.

Further complicating things is the intensity of the seizure. Before I got my VNS, tonic-clonic seizures always caused me to stop breathing for as much as 4 minutes. After about a half-year of VNS treatment, when I have had a tonic-clonic seizure, I don't stop breathing. I think this has reduced my recovery time dramatically. So, I think I would have to put recovery time into 4 different categories:

Pre VNS Tonic-Clonic with head injury:
A few hours just to regain coherent speech & though. Time at hospital or with icepack on bruises. At least a full day of sleep and maybe another couple to rest.

Pre VNS Tonic-Clonic without head injury:
A couple hours to regain coherent speech & thought. A day of sleep.

Post VNS Tonic-Clonic with head injury but no cessation of breathing:
A half hour to regain coherent speech & thought. Time at hospital or with icepack on bruises. Extra sleep needed - at least a few hours of sleep after the seizure.

Post VNS Tonic-Clonic without head injury or cessation of breathing:
A half hour to regain coherent speech & thought. Extra sleep needed - at least a few hours of sleep after the seizure.

Now, as a side-note. A few months ago, I had a tonic-clonic seizure and hit my head, but not too bad as I was sitting at a table and did not have far to fall. I did not stop breathing and was able to stand up after perhaps 20 minutes. I did not feel too bad, but I took a nap for a few hours and then got up and was active for the rest of the day. But, the next morning I had another tonic-clonic seizure - I believe because I did not rest enough after the one from the previous day. So, last week, I had a tonic-clonic seizure and I made sure that I slept much more and rested for the next 2 days.

As a further side note, I will probably have to revise the post after my family reads it and tells me the times are wrong. See, that is the other thing, I remember very little from the days when I have tonic-clonic seizures.

Monday, April 16, 2007


After a lot of TLC from my wife and rest, I have finally recovered from the tonic-clonic seizure I had last week. Nothing like a seizure to interrupt the perfectly good streak of blogging I had going from last week. Now I have to try to catch up on all three of my blogs...

Friday, April 13, 2007

Another Tonic Clonic

Scott had another tonic clonic seizure while in bed this morning at 1:00. I was awakened to find him seizing on top of me. Luckily, I was able to get out from under him and grab a magnet to manually active his VNS. He came out of the seizure shortly thereafter. He doesn't appear to have any bumps or bruises from the seizure. However, he did complain of a headache and nausea. He is resting now. I will post more tomorrow to let everyone know how Scott is doing.