New Medications Trials for TBI related Seizures
Two drug trials offer promise in controlling seizures which occur in 25% of moderate and severe brain injuries with even higher numbers, approaching 50%, for war related injuries. Topamax and Keppra are being used as prophylactic measures in these two studies to prevent seizure disorders from developing. Seizures can appear as cognitive or behavioral events in addition to what we commonly regard as a seizure involving the loss of consciousness and motor control. There are over 1.4 million people in the U.S. who experience a brain injury which creates a large number of people who are at risk for developing seizures. A seizure disorder may take months or sometimes years to develop, however the consequences for the person are significant and may be the cause of further disability which prevents a return to independence and work. The studies involving Topamax and Keppra offer hope to combating the inflammation which is caused by the release of cell harm chemicals and neurotoxic substances following the initial injury. The inflammatory process is believed to be the cause of seizures following a traumatic brain injury. Emergency room procedures for traumatic brain injury can be expanded to include these medications if the studies support their effectiveness in preventing and reducing seizures. The drug trials involving these two drugs are taking place at the Children's National Medical Center, the Washington Hospital Center and at the University of Washington.