New AEDs on PBS
A recent addition to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Fund, Brivaracetam is indicated for people with focal seizures who have failed three previous anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) and currently taking a combination of two or more AEDs. While it is not to be prescribed concurrently with Keppra there are no identified drug to drug interactions between the two drugs and can be overlapped during a transition from one medication to the other. One of the benefits of Brivaracetam is the minimal to no interact with contraceptives and appears to be well tolerated in clinical studies. Find more information here and here.
Qantas Carer Concession Card
The Qantas Carer Concession Card is issued to people with disability and high level support needs who require the full-time assistance of a carer whilst they are on the aircraft. A person is eligible if they need to have one-on-one support when seated on the aircraft. A person is not eligible if they only need assistance boarding the aircraft, or when they arrive at their destination as these needs can be catered for by Qantas ground staff when pre-arranged. People with Disability Australia currently have an agreement with Qantas for discounted domestic companion flights. Find more information here.
New implantable device for seizures
A new device, developed at St Vincent’s Hospital and the Graeme Clark Institute, is like a “fit bit for the brain” and has the potential to predict and prevent epileptic seizures. The Minder, is fitted under the skin on the scalp and records brainwaves. Find more information here.
New hope for treatment of poorly controlled seizures
A significant number of people with epilepsy will not respond satisfactorily to any current treatment. Researchers from Lund University in Sweden have shown they were able to reduce seizures using a method known as ‘chemogenetics’ focussing precisely on the region of the brain affected by the epileptic seizures, leaving other areas of the brain unaffected. Find more information here.
Effective epilepsy medication without the side effects?
Approximately 60-70% of people with epilepsy will have their seizures controlled with medication. But even then, the drugs used may have unpleasant, unwanted side effects. New research from the Australian National University aims to look at the molecular level to find a way of reducing negative side effects without reducing the drug’s efficacy. Find more information here.