Epilepsy, a disorder of the central nervous system, undermines the lifestyle of many. Medication already exists to relieve the patients of the pain and troubles, but, it is not effective for every single epileptic person. A new pill has been manufactured which will hopefully cater for the drug-resistant patients, provided it makes it to the market.
Across the globe, around 50 million people suffer from the neurological disorder, epilepsy. The treatment for the disease entails medications, and sometimes, surgery in extreme cases. For the majority of the epileptic people, the medications available are enough of a relief for them to live life as normally as they possibly can. However, 30% of them do not respond favourably to the drugs. This is the proportion who may have to go through surgery to experience relief from their disease. That is hopefully soon going to change. Scientists from the University College London (UCL) have produced a pill which could potentially help those who are otherwise drug-resistant.
The new suppressant pill has been tested on rodents – the lab rats. It works such that it renders the cells of the brain more responsive to a substance in the brain which is hitherto inactive. Genetically modified viruses have been used to deliver messages to the brain. The virus is injected into the part of the brain where the seizures arise. It then stimulates the brain cells to manufacture a protein which acts to prevent the brain cells from triggering seizures. However, the protein needs to be activated – it is only the compound clozapin-N-oxide (CNO) which can make the protein turn into a form which is active. Therefore, CNO is primordial for the method to work. It can be taken in as a pill. Other ways can be used to deliver the CNO – for instance, by directly injecting it into the patient.
This new method is being acclaimed as a very effective one to deal with epilepsy. Current drugs come with side-effects. If high doses are used, patients might need to be taken to intensive care. With the new drug, the patient would be spared all these troubles: all that would be needed would be a virus-injection, then consuming the CNO pill, and that would be it. However, the newly-concocted virus would have to make it to the clinic first by having more tests done to know without doubt that it is, in fact, efficient on humans.
The researchers also put forward that the new treatment would allow patients to avoid more severe seizures. Sometimes, small seizures occur, prior to more severe ones. Therefore, if one is suddenly overtaken by minor seizures, he can take the new pill to prevent the coming of more serious ones. Furthermore, its makers say it produces no side-effects, as the current ones.