You’ve probably heard about a variety of drugs and new treatments coming our way to help address the current unmet needs in the field of epilepsy. What you may not know is that one of those treatments recently got approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The drug, called Briviact, is now available through pharmacies so that it can be prescribed to patients who meet its eligibility criteria.
With the wait for new breakthroughs often comes a flurry of confusion about what exactly these drugs are, if they’re safe to take, how they work, and what conditions they treat.
We understand that this can all be overwhelming at first, but stay with us as we break down everything you need to know about Briviact and its potential as an effective treatment option for partial-onset seizures.
What is Briviact?
Briviact is a new drug that’s been approved to treat partial-onset seizures in adults. Briviact is also known as vigabatrin, and it’s an antiepileptic drug (AED) that belongs to a class of medications called GABAergic drugs. GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, and GABAergic drugs work by increasing the amount of GABA available in the brain and therefore decreasing the neural activity that causes seizures. Briviact is indicated for the treatment of partial-onset seizures in adults aged 18 years and over who have failed to respond to at least one antiepileptic drug.
How does Briviact Work?
Briviact is classified as a GABAergic drug, which means that it works by increasing the amount of inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. Normally, the amount of GABA in the brain is just enough to keep all the neurons from firing at once, which is what causes seizures.
Briviact increases the amount of GABA, which makes it harder for neurons to fire and causes a decrease in the amount of neural activity that could cause seizures.
Briviact also has the added benefit of being able to cross the blood-brain barrier, which means that it’s able to get into the brain and have an effect there. Unfortunately, many other seizure medications stay in the blood, which means that they have little to no impact on the brain. Since Briviact is able to reach the brain and effectively treat seizures, it is often prescribed as a first-line treatment.
Who can Take Briviact?
Briviact can be prescribed to adults who have failed to respond to at least one antiepileptic drug and are experiencing partial onset seizures. Briviact is not recommended for use in pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers due to the risk of serious side effects in the developing fetus.
The most common side effects associated with taking Briviact are drowsiness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and anorexia (decreased appetite). Some patients have experienced potentially serious side effects as well, such as arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), blurred vision, slurred speech, rash, and QT interval prolongation. If you experience any side effects while taking Briviact, you should call your doctor immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.
The Bottom Line: Importance of Briviact
Briviact is a new seizure medication that’s just been approved to treat partial onset seizures in adults. Briviact works by increasing the amount of GABA available in the brain to help reduce neural activity and prevent seizures from occurring. Briviact is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women or children under 18 years old due to the risk of serious side effects in the developing fetus. To minimize side effects and maximize the effectiveness of Briviact, you should take it exactly as prescribed by your doctor and avoid taking any other medications that can interact with Briviact.