UCB has rolled out Briviact across the UK, offering a new treatment approach for patients with uncontrolled epilepsy.

Briviact (brivaracetam) has been authorised as an add-on treatment for partial onset seizures, with or without secondary generalised seizures (spreading from one side to both sides of the brain after the initial episode), in patients with epilepsy aged 16 years and above.

There are currently 600,000 people with epilepsy in the UK, but only 52% receiving treatment are seizure-free. Seizures, which often occur without warning, make it difficult for patients to lead a normal life, and their economic cost England and Wales alone is estimated at £2 billion annually.

According to UCB, the proportion of people living seizure-free could rise to 70% with the right treatment. Briviact could go some way in helping to address this unmet need, given that clinical trials have shown efficacy (over placebo) in reducing partial-onset seizure frequency during the treatment period.

According to pooled data from three pivotal Phase III studies (N01252, N01253 and N01358), the drug cut seizure frequency per 28 days by 19.5%, 24.4% and 24.0% at 50mg/day, 100mg/day and 200 mg/day doses, respectively. Also, the proportion of patients showing a 50% or greater reduction in partial-onset seizure frequency was 34.2% (50 mg/day), 39.5% (100 mg/day) and 37.8% (200 mg/day) versus 20.3% for placebo. 

On the safety side, trials showed that Briviact was generally well tolerated by patients, with the most commonly reported adverse reactions with the drug somnolence (15.2%), dizziness (11.2%), headache (9.6%) and fatigue (8.7%).

“Finding the right combination of medicines for many epilepsy patients can be a long journey, during which time the patient may continue to suffer seizures and living a normal life is very difficult,” noted Mark Manford, consultant neurologist at Bedford and Addenbrookes Hospitals. “As a neurologist working with patients whose seizures have not yet been brought under control, I welcome the possibility that a new medicine may be able to contribute to the tools available to help my patients”.