Novel anti-epileptic drug demonstrates efficacy

Research reveals that a new, potassium-channel opening drug has shown an ability to reduce seizure frequency by more than half in certain epilepsy patients.

XEN1101 epilepsy

A new drug, part of a class of chemicals called potassium-channel openers, has demonstrated potential in offering relief to patients with focal epilepsy. Key data from a clinical trial, published in a report in JAMA Neurology, has revealed that adding the drug XEN1101 to a patient’s current antiseizure treatments saw a 33 percent to 53 percent drop in monthly seizures, depending on dose.

Comparatively, patients given a placebo had on average 18 percent fewer seizures during the treatment phase of the trial, which lasted eight weeks.

A new approach to potassium-channel openers for epilepsy

Critically, XEN1101 combines the effectiveness of potassium-channel openers with the safety of more traditional drugs, stated study lead author and neurologist Dr Jacqueline French.

XEN1101 [can] be administered at full strength to begin with”

According to Dr French, a key benefit of the drug is its dosage capabilities. The medicine takes over a week to break down in the body. This means levels in the brain remain consistent over time, enabling XEN1101 to be administered at full strength to begin with. This helps “to avoid dramatic spikes that worsen side effects, and dips that allow seizures to return. This lengthy breakdown time also allows for a ‘grace period’ if a dose is accidently skipped or taken late,” Dr French highlighted.

XEN1101 trial findings

The Phase IIb study included 285 participants with epilepsy. It ran between January 2019 and September 2021. The research team recruited adults with treatment-resistant epilepsy who had already tried and stopped taking an average of six drugs that failed to treat their focal seizures. Participants qualified by having experienced at least four episodes a month despite ongoing treatment.

In the trial’s extension… after a year or more, about 11 percent [of those treated with XEN1101] had no seizures”

In the trial’s extension, those treated with the new drug were entirely seizure free after six months. After a year or more, about 11 percent had no seizures.

Among the results, the study revealed no signs of serious side effects such as heart problems, allergic reactions, or concerning skin discolorations.

“Our findings show that XEN1101 may offer a swift, safe, and effective way to treat focal epilepsy,” Dr French concluded.