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The dangerous side-effects of a drug used to control epilepsy could be reduced with the use of a new treatment.
Epilepsy is a common chronic neurological disorder that is characterised by recurrent unprovoked seizures. These seizures are caused by a burst of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. It is incurable and affects about one in 30 people in the UK.
Medicines such as valproic acid can stabilise the electrical activity in the brain and prevent seizures in many epilepsy patients. But it has been found to cause toxic liver damage, stomach ulcers and serious inflammation of the pancreas. This means its use is often limited to extreme cases.
Researchers from Banaras Hindu University, in India, have now combined amino acids with valproic acid. In this form the risk of the valproic acid causing liver damage or ulcers is greatly reduced, the British Pharmaceutical Conference (BPC) in Manchester heard.
Lead pharmacy researcher, Dr Sushant Kumar Shivastava, said: “Valproic acid is powerfully effective against different kinds of epilepsy and we are confident this research breakthrough represents a major future improvement for patients with epilepsy.”
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