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Active Substance: eslicarbazepine acetate
Common Name: eslicarbazepine acetate
ATC Code: N03AF04
Marketing Authorisation Holder: BIAL - Portela & Ca, S.A.
Active Substance: eslicarbazepine acetate
Status: Authorised
Authorisation Date: 2009-04-21
Therapeutic Area: Epilepsy
Pharmacotherapeutic Group: Anti-epileptics

Therapeutic Indication

Zebinix is indicated as adjunctive therapy in adults with partial-onset seizures with or without secondary generalisation.

What is Zebinix?

Zebinix is a medicine that contains the active substance eslicarbazepine acetate. It is available as white tablets (200 mg, 400 mg, 600 mg and 800 mg).

What is Zebinix used for?

Zebinix is used to treat adults with partial-onset seizures (epileptic fits) with or without secondary generalisation. This is a type of epilepsy where too much electrical activity in one side of the brain causes symptoms such as sudden, jerky movements of one part of the body, distorted hearing, sense of smell, or vision, numbness or a sudden sense of fear. Secondary generalisation occurs when the overactivity later reaches the whole brain. Zebinix must only be used as an ‘add-on’ to other anti-epileptic medicines.

The medicine can only be obtained with a prescription.

How is Zebinix used?

Zebinix treatment starts at a dose of 400 mg once a day, before increasing it to the standard dose of 800 mg once a day after one or two weeks. The dose may be increased to 1,200 mg once a day depending on how the patient responds to treatment.

Zebinix should be used with caution in patients with kidney problems and the dose should be adjusted according to how the kidneys are functioning. The medicine is not recommended in patients with severely reduced kidney or liver function.

How does Zebinix work?

The active substance in Zebinix, eslicarbazepine acetate, is converted into the anti-epileptic medicine eslicarbazepine in the body. Epilepsy is caused by excessive electrical activity in the brain. For electrical impulses to travel along nerves there needs to be a rapid movement of sodium into the nerve cells. Eslicarbazepine is thought to work by blocking ‘voltage-gated sodium channels’, which stops sodium entering the nerve cells. This reduces the activity of the nerve cells in the brain, reducing the intensity and the number of seizures.

How has Zebinix been studied?

Three main studies were performed, involving a total of 1,050 adults with partial-onset seizures that were not controlled by other medicines. All three studies compared Zebinix given at different doses (400 mg, 800 mg or 1200 mg once a day) with placebo (a dummy treatment). All of the patients also received other anti-epileptic medicines. The main measure of effectiveness for the three studies was the reduction in the number of seizures over 12 weeks.

What benefit has Zebinix shown during the studies?

Looking at the results of the three studies taken together, Zebinix 800 mg and 1200 mg were more effective than placebo at reducing the number of seizures, when used as add-ons to other anti-epileptic medicines. At the start of the study, patients had around 13 seizures per month. Over the 12 weeks of treatment, this fell to 9.8 and 9 seizures per month in patients taking Zebinix 800 mg and Zebinix 1200 mg respectively, compared with 11.7 per month in those taking placebo.

What is the risk associated with Zebinix?

Almost a half of the patients treated with Zebinix experience side effects. Side effects were usually mild to moderate in intensity and occurred mostly in the first week of treatment. The most common side effects with Zebinix (seen in more than 1 patient in 10) are dizziness and somnolence (sleepiness). For the full list of all side effects reported with Zebinix, see the package leaflet.

Zebinix should not be used in people who may be hypersensitive (allergic) to eslicarbazepine acetate, any of the other ingredients or other carboxamide derivatives (medicines with a similar structure to eslicarbazepine acetate, such as carbamazepine or oxcarbazepine). It must not be used in people with second- or third-degree atrioventricular block (a problem with electrical transmission in the heart).

Why has Zebinix been approved?

The CHMP decided that Zebinix’s benefits are greater than its risks and recommended that it be given marketing authorisation.

Other information about Zebinix

The European Commission granted a marketing authorisation valid throughout the European Union for Zebinix on 21 April 2009.

For more information about treatment with Zebinix, read the package leaflet (also part of the EPAR) or contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Source: European Medicines Agency

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided here is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.