Designing better trials for epilepsy medications: the challenge of heterogeneity

Author(s): Daniel Friedman, Jacqueline A French

Despite the expanding treatment options in the past two decades, a third of patients with epilepsy remain treatment resistant, and there is a continued need for new therapies. After many years of repeated success, several late-stage clinical development programs for antiseizure drugs have seen unexpected failures to demonstrate superiority of the experimental drug over placebo, which has led to a re-examination of how clinical trials are conducted in this heterogeneous and often unpredictable condition. There are numerous sources of variability in epilepsy trials that can reduce effect size. Methods to improve diagnostic accuracy and outcome assessment are needed to ensure that promising compounds have the best chance to get to patients.