Although a large percentage of epilepsy patients will be controlled with medication, it is estimated that over a third of all patients with epilepsy will continue to experience disabling seizures despite the proper use of anti-epileptic medications. The majority of these medically resistant patients are likely going to be good candidates for one or more of the different types of epilepsy surgery. However, in a large percentage of all difficult to control epilepsy patients who are either not candidates for surgery or had failed surgery, newer, investigational medications may represent the best treatment option for them.
Participating in a clinical trial is a great way to be a part of research and development of “pipeline” drugs that could hold the promise to improved treatment of epilepsy. New medications cannot be approved in the United States without extensive clinical trials, which provide the opportunity to study the drug in large groups of people to determine safety and how well the drug works. Before becoming eligible for a clinical trial, a drug is first extensively studied in a laboratory, often with animal experiments, and then with a small group of volunteers. Generally, there are several different phases of clinical trials with some involving use of newly developed medications, and others conducted on drugs already on the market to help track safety and study for new indications.
Participation in a clinical trial is subject to specific inclusion and exclusion criteria and it involves extensive monitoring of the enrolled subjects in the study to supervise their safety and track clinical progress. Prior to enrolling in a clinical trial, a process called informed consent is performed to ensure that the participant is informed of all aspects of the trial including the risks and benefits. Some might be apprehensive about participating in a new medication trial. However, for many people suffering from disabling seizures, new research can provide hope for scientific breakthroughs that can dramatically manage their seizures. Participating in clinical trials can have many benefits including helping researchers find new ways to treat epilepsy. Scientific progression is dependent on volunteers in clinical trials who can provide the key to advancing treatment options and knowledge of disease. A trial may be the only way to receive access to cutting-edge treatment that may not be available on the open market for several years.
The Research Institute of Orlando is currently enrolling for several trials for treatment of epilepsy. Please visit www.researchinstituteoforlando.com for further information.