From Porter Novelli
Reducing antiepileptics in VNS (TM) patients does not impair seizure control Denver, CO -- April 18, 2002 -- (Nasdaq: CYBX) -- Reducing the number of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) used in combination with VNS (Vagus Nerve Stimulation) Therapyä does not cause a "rebound" increase in seizure rates, according to a study presented at a poster session today at the 54th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) in Denver.
"To successfully manage epilepsy, we try to maximize seizure control, while minimizing side effects," says study investigator Douglas Labar, M.D., director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at New York Presbyterian Hospital - Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York. "Although most patients who use VNS Therapy also require medication, this study demonstrates that the number of AEDs patients take can likely be reduced without jeopardizing that balance."
This retrospective study analyzed the types and number of medications VNS Therapy patients were using when first beginning treatment and then again one year later (n=1407). The patients were split into two primary groups: those whose medications were reduced or remained unchanged after one year (n=896) and those whose medications were increased or switched during that period (n=511). There were no significant differences in seizure rate changes between the groups. The study also examined how the addition of specific medications affected seizure rate reductions and found that decreases in seizure frequency were relatively parallel across several medications.
Epilepsy is the third most common neurological disorder in the United States, affecting nearly 2.3 million people, or one percent of the population, reports the Epilepsy Foundation. Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by two or more, unprovoked recurrent seizures, "electrical storms" in the brain caused by faster-than-normal activity and transport of messages by the brain's nerve cells. Such storms, in turn, affect the body's functions. The severity of seizures ranges from finger twitching to unrecognizable speech to convulsions and unconsciousness.
Currently, available treatments, either drugs or surgery, control seizures in 70 to 80 percent of cases, but for more than 600,000 American have refractory epilepsy, in which such treatments are ineffective.
About VNS Therapy
VNS Therapy is an innovative long-term therapy for central nervous system disorders, which has been demonstrated to be safe and effective for people with epilepsy. VNS Therapy is delivered via a small pacemaker-like device, implanted just under the skin in the left chest pocket, which sends mild electrical stimulation to the brain via the left vagus nerve.
VNS Therapy has been proven to decrease or sometimes eliminate seizures and may improve quality of life in many patients whose seizures do not respond to medications alone. In addition, VNS Therapy has not been reported to cause any of the devastating side effects that are commonly associated with AEDs, and may allow some people with epilepsy to reduce the number or dose of the antiepileptic medications they take.
VNS Therapy with the Cyberonics NCP® System was approved in 1997 for use as an adjunctive therapy in reducing the frequency of seizures in adults and adolescents over 12 years of age with medically refractory partial onset seizures. In addition, the NCP System is currently approved for epilepsy in all the member countries of the European Union, Canada, and Australia. VNS with the Cyberonics NCP System is also approved for sale in the European Union and in Canada as a depression treatment in patients with treatment-resistant or treatment-intolerant major depressive episodes including unipolar depression and bipolar disorder (manic depression).
Cyberonics, Inc. (Nasdaq: CYBX) was founded in 1987 to help improve the lives of people touched by epilepsy, depression and other chronic disorders that may prove to be treatable with VNS. Cyberonics is headquartered in Houston, Texas, USA, with an office in Belgium. For additional information, please visit www.cyberonics.com.