Fintepla more potent than others in taming Dravet seizures: Study

Meta-analysis looked at data from 21 trials, 6 treatments

Marisa Wexler, MS avatar

by Marisa Wexler, MS |

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Among recent treatments to reduce the risk of seizures in people with Dravet syndrome, Fintepla (fenfluramine) appears to be the most potent, according to a new analysis.

“In [Dravet syndrome], [Fintepla] provided significantly greater efficacy compared with other [anti-seizure medications], and it was generally well tolerated,” researchers wrote in the study, “Efficacy and safety of six new antiseizure medications for adjunctive treatment of focal epilepsy and epileptic syndrome: A systematic review and network meta-analysis,” published in Epilepsy and Behavior.

Seizures are a major health concern in people with Dravet syndrome and other forms of epilepsy, and a main goal of treatment is to minimize the risk of seizures as much as possible. Several new anti-seizure therapies for Dravet and other epilepsy types have come on the market in recent years.

“These varied choices make it challenging to choose optimal treatments in the absence of head-to-head comparison trials,” the researchers wrote.

Aiming to provide greater clarity on the different options available, the scientists conducted a network meta-analysis, a type of study in which researchers pool and compare data from various other trials. While not as reliable as head-to-head trials, since it’s impossible to fully account for differences between studies, network meta-analyses can provide useful insight based on currently available data.

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A recent seizure has me worried about my daughter with Dravet

‘Remarkable’ response rate in Dravet patients

The researchers said further studies are needed to more directly compare the different treatment options. “This study aimed to determine the most effective and safest [anti-seizure] treatments among various available options, helping clinicians optimize the use of existing treatments,” they wrote.

The network meta-analysis included data from 21 trials that tested one of six different anti-seizure therapies against a placebo. Collectively, the trials included more than 5,500 people with various types of epilepsy, including Dravet syndrome.

The six medications assessed in the study included five treatments approved for Dravet and/or other forms of epilepsy: Fintepla, Epidiolex (cannabidiol), brivaracetam (sold as Briviact, among others), cenobamate (sold under brand names including Xcopri and Ontozry), and everolimus (sold as Afinitor, among others), as well as the experimental treatment soticlestat.

Results showed that all six medications were more effective than placebo at reducing the risk of seizures in Dravet syndrome, but the effects of Fintepla were more dramatic than the other five in Dravet patients. Fintepla “had a remarkable treatment response rate” in Dravet patients, the researchers said.

In terms of safety, all six medicines showed comparable profiles and none was associated with serious side effects in Dravet patients.

The analysis suggests that Fintepla “provided significantly greater efficacy compared with other” anti-seizure medications for Dravet syndrome, and was generally well tolerated, the researchers said, though they stressed a need for further studies to verify the findings.

Fintepla is sold by UCB. The company was not involved in this analysis, which was funded by academic and government grants.