Preventing Epilepsy after Brain Injury

Disclaimer

2014-0624 EpilepsyI am not a doctor, pharmacist, or medical researcher. To the best of my knowledge, I did not have epilepsy or any seizure disorder after my brain injury. I may, or may not, have taken medication to reduce the likelihood of a seizure after my brain injury, but I do not recall. It is probably safe to say I have no experience using — or witnessing the use of — medication described in this post. I am not related to any of the researchers. I have not, and will not, receive any compensation for sharing the following information. I chose to share the information in this post so others will have information to discuss with their medical professionals.

You should discuss all changes to your medicine, supplements, vitamins, diet, or exercise with a qualified medical professional BEFORE you make any changes.

Article

A common blood pressure drug, Cozaar (losartan), has been found to prevent epilepsy and impede further brain damage caused by seizures in patients that already have epilepsy. It is estimated that between 10 to 25 percent of all epilepsy attacks are a direct result of serious head trauma. Seizures caused by epilepsy can create further brain damage and worsen current brain injuries. Dr. Daniela Kaufer of the University of California is excited about the results of the current study, saying, “This study for the first time offers a new mechanism and an existing, FDA-approved drug to potentially prevent epilepsy in patients after brain injuries and once they develop an abnormal blood-brain barrier,” said Kaufer.

Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley, Charité-University Medicine in Germany, and Ben-Gurion University in Negev completed an animal study on rats to come to the findings. In rats with extreme head trauma, the drug was able to prevent seizures in 60 percent of those treated. The remaining 40 percent had seizure rates of one quarter of those typical for rats who were not treated. The treatment regimen lasted 3 weeks and prevented seizures for the following few months. Human based clinical trials are expected to begin in the next few years.

The study suggests that losartan can reach the brain through a breached barrier.

Professor Alon Friedman of Ben-Gurion University in Negev led the research, and said that this was the first study in which seizures were prevented altogether. “This is the first-ever approach in which epilepsy development is stopped, as opposed to common drugs that try to prevent seizures once epilepsy develops,” said Friedman. “Those drugs are administered for many years, have a limited success and involve many side effects, so we are excited about the new approach.”

Credits

Click here to read another Beyond Injury post about overcoming adversity.

Thanks to the Annals of Neurology for publishing the study; Marcus Johnson for writing the article that inspired this post; Bioresearch Online for using its resources to publish the article written by Johnson; Google for helping me find the article; and all the other people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to include the picture and text I used in this post.

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