Current and Ongoing Research Projects
Below are some important long term research projects. Long term research can provide important information about disease patterns, risk factors, outcomes of treatment or health interventions, and best practice.
If you are interested in participating in clinical trials and research, go to Participate in Research
Study of pregnant women currently taking lacosamide (Vimpat): currently recruiting
Epilepsy Action Australia is the primary funder of The Raoul Wallenberg Australian Pregnancy Register (APR) who is working in collaboration with UCB Pharma to study pregnant women currently taking the medication lacosamide.
The primary objective of the study is to understand how levels of lacosamide change during pregnancy. No treatment changes or interference with medical care during pregnancy are planned as part of the study protocol.
The study will involve collection of blood during pregnancy and after the birth, and additionally collect breast milk samples, if possible, to determine the level of lacosamide recovered in breast milk. All other study assessments are part of normal care during pregnancy.
We encourage any person that is currently on lacosamide and who is already pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant to speak with the APR and their Neurologist about this study.
For more information about the study, or to speak with the Australian Pregnancy Register:
This study has been approved by the Melbourne Health Human Ethics Research Committee. Approval number 2015.211 – HREC/11/MH/282. ANZCTR registration number: ACTRN12622001121752
Australian Pregnancy Register: currently recruiting
The Australian Pregnancy Register (APR) is an independent research project into the long-term effects and safety of anti-seizure medications on the mother and child during and after pregnancy.
This register is designed to bridge current knowledge gaps about epilepsy medication and has already identified some issues that has resulted in a change in prescribing practices and a reduced rate of birth defects.
Epilepsy Action is a major partner and supporter of the APR.
To be eligible to participate, you need to answer yes to two of the following three questions. Are you:
- Planning a pregnancy, currently pregnant or have recently given birth?
- Taking an antiseizure medication with or without a diagnosis of epilepsy?
- Not taking antiseizure medication but have been diagnosed with epilepsy?
The aim is to have as many women as possible enrol to provide a broad base of information. This is an observational study consisting of one to four brief telephone interviews and does not require any change to your current medication regime or treatment.
If you would like to contribute to the collective knowledge of seizure medications and pregnancy please Register Here
Examining the efficacy of an online Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) – based self-management program for adults with neurological disorders
Macquarie University’s eCentreClinic is looking for adults with epilepsy to take part in a free online course to help Australians with neurological conditions learn to manage:
- Stress, anxiety, frustration and worry.
- Low mood, sadness, grief and depression.
- Day-to-day mental or cognitive activities.
- Day-to-day physical activities.
Clinical Trials for Better Outcomes
Two in three people with epilepsy gain seizure control but that still means that for one in three people, current medication won’t help fully control their seizures.
Further medical research is needed to find more effective treatments. Clinical trials include investigations in which people volunteer to test new treatments to better prevent and manage medical conditions.
People with epilepsy are in a position to help others by participating in clinical trials that can contribute to medical knowledge and result in better treatment outcomes.
Participating in a clinical trial is a commitment and you need to be fully informed about the objectives of the research, what is expected of you and any risks and potential inconveniences that may be experienced during and after the trial.
Finding a Clinical Trial
- The Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) lists current or recently completed epilepsy trials.
- The U.S. National Institutes of Health has listings of currently recruiting studies.
Clinical trials contribute to medical knowledge and the results of these studies can make a difference in the care of future people by providing information about the benefits and risks of medications, products or procedures.
Other Research in Australia
The following hospital and university-based groups conduct epilepsy-related medical research in Australia:
Epilepsy and Neuropharmacology Research Group. Royal Melbourne Hospital, The University of Melbourne:
Covers both basic and clinical studies relevant to epilepsy and related areas, including traumatic brain injury.
One of the world’s top 10 brain research centres made up of four medical research institutes uniting to find cures for brain disease, including Howard Florey Institute, the Mental Health Research Institute, the National Stroke Research Institute and the Brain Research Institute.
Epilepsy Research Centre. Austin Hospital, Melbourne:
Comprises clinical researchers and scientists from research teams at the University of Melbourne, Austin Health and the Brain Research Institute working together to better understand the causes, treatment and outcome of epilepsy.
Neuroscience and Neurology Research Group. Monash University:
Features an Epilepsy Research Group focused on a range of issues.
Centre for Neuroscience, Flinders University, South Australia:
Has a Brain Signals Laboratory is a high-level neurophysiological research unit with a special focus on epilepsy.