AT A GLANCE: Campaign underlines efficacy of LGS drug

Is this drug aimed at particular epilepsy sufferers?
Children. Inovelon is an anti-convulsant specifically for those who suffer from Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS), an uncommon and severe form of epilepsy that develops in early childhood. It is caused by brain disorders such as developmental malformations or metabolic abnormalities. Complete recovery is very unusual.

Who is handling PR?
Specialist healthcare shop Reynolds-MacKenzie is looking after the launch in the UK. Agency co-founder Eva Reynolds is leading the account, reporting to Andrew Day, director of PR and comms for Eisai Europe. Key messages will include its efficacy: it is not a cure but can alleviate symptoms. In clinical trials, Inovelon lessened seizures significantly.

How significantly?
Compared with placebo, Inovelon reduced the frequency of so-called ‘drop attacks’ by 42.5 per cent. These attacks are caused by atonic seizures, where there is a sudden loss of muscle tone and consciousness, causing abrupt falls – some kids experience such symptoms 80 times a day. In trials the drug also reduced the occurrence of total seizures by 32.7 per cent.

What are the main symptoms of LGS?
They include myoclonic seizures, characterised by sudden muscle jerks, and atypical absence seizures, during which the child will appear vacant or blank. Tonic seizures are the most common, in which there is a brief, general stiffening of the arms and legs. Developmental delay and behavioural problems are also common among sufferers.

How have epilepsy groups reacted?
Charity Epilepsy Action put out a statement on the launch. Although it cannot recommend drugs it said that it ‘welcomes any advances in the treatment of epilepsy, particularly in an area which has proved so difficult to treat’. Comms manager is Sue Mitchell. Inovelon is already available in several other European Union countries, including Germany.

Is LGS a big problem?
An estimated 11,000 people – between one and five in every 100 children with epilepsy – in Western Europe have it. The seizures are not easy to control, which means the condition can have a destabilising impact on family life, with sufferers’ muscles sometimes contracting continuously.

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