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Epilepsy Foundation hails extended release form of Depakote

WASHINGTON,D.C., Dec. 23, 2002 -- Representatives of the Epilepsy Foundation said that the FDA's approval of Abbott Laboratories' Depakote ER (divalproex sodium extended release) for the treatment of epilepsy is excellent news for people with seizures. Epilepsy affects 2.3 million Americans, the majority of whom must take medication daily to help control their seizures.

Depakote ER tablets have been approved for sole and adjunctive therapy of complex partial seizures and simple and complex absence seizures in adults with epilepsy. Depakote ER is a new once daily formulation of Depakote tablets, which have been a leading medication for the treatment of epilepsy since their approval in 1983.

"Since many people with epilepsy rely on daily medication for seizure control, a convenient and easy to remember medicine regimen is vitally important," said Patricia Osborne Shafer, R.N., M.N., chair of the Foundation's professional advisory board.

"Many of the existing medications need to be taken two to four times a day, and this multiple daily dosing is very difficult. This new formulation, however, offers people the option of taking their medicine only once a day. This will make taking medications a lot easier and likely improve seizure control and quality of life for many people with seizures. The Epilepsy Foundation welcomes this new treatment option," she said.

Seizures are produced by brief disturbances of electrical activity in the brain. Partial seizures happen when the disturbance is focused within a limited region of the brain. Absence seizures are a type of generalized seizures, with electrical activity involving both sides of the brain.

Partial seizures affect between 50 and 70 percent of people with epilepsy and are especially common in adults. Both types of seizures are commonly treated with Depakote.

Recent studies indicate that 40 to 50 percent of people with epilepsy are still having seizures or report bothersome side effects. Others may have seizures that respond easily to treatment, but still require lifelong medication use.

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Source: Epilepsy Foundation

Posted: December 2002