At Arvelle we are committed to helping the millions of patients who are affected by CNS disorders. We aspire to do this by making innovative therapies available to more patients.
What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a serious, chronic, debilitating, neurological disease affecting people of all ages, races and socio-economic classes1. It is characterized by recurrent unprovoked seizures, resulting from a disruption in the normal balance between excitation and inhibition in the brain2.
Epilepsy is defined by any of the following conditions3
- at least two unprovoked seizures occurring >24 hours apart
- one unprovoked seizure and a probability of further seizures similar to the general recurrence risk (at least 60%) after two unprovoked seizures, occurring over the next ten years
- diagnosis of an epilepsy syndrome
Based on underlying cause, there are three types of epilepsy4
- Genetic epilepsy, which results from genetic deficits
- Structural/metabolic epilepsy with distinct structural or metabolic condition shown to be associated with a substantially increased risk of epilepsy (eg stroke, trauma, infection, porphyria, uremia)
- Unknown cause of epilepsy, where the origin of abnormal neuronal activity can’t be established.
Prevalence of epilepsy
Up to 2% of people worldwide have epilepsy, making it one of the most prevalent serious neurological diseases9. However, prevalence is higher in low and middle-income countries1,10. There are an estimated 6 million people in Europe with epilepsy11 with a prevalence of 8.2 per thousand of population12. The incidence of epilepsy is generally higher in early childhood and late adulthood13.
Burden of disease
The global disease burden of epilepsy is high1,10 as a diagnosis of epilepsy confers significant disability on the individual, including physical, psychological and social problems that negatively impact self-esteem, family, relationships, leisure, work, career prospects and ability to drive1,14.
People with epilepsy whose seizures are poorly controlled have higher morbidity and mortality rates and often experience comorbid illnesses, social stigmatization, psychological dysfunction and reduced quality of life15,16.
Epilepsy is associated with a 2- to 3-fold increase in mortality when compared to age-matched general population17 and can be due to the underlying cause of epilepsy, seizure related or due to sudden unexpected death (SUDEP)18. Several studies have shown a higher risk of death in people who continued having seizures despite treatment when compared to people with epilepsy who are seizure free19.
Whilst reduction in seizure frequency brings benefits to patients, seizure freedom is the only treatment outcome that has the potential to significantly impact the disease burden associated with epilepsy15,20.
Many anti-seizure medications with different mechanism of action have been introduced in the last 15 years, yet approximately 40% of people with epilepsy do not achieve a sustained seizure freedom after treatment with two anti-seizure medications21,22, thus presenting with so called drug-resistant epilepsy23. The probability of achieving seizure freedom decreases significantly with each subsequent anti-seizure medication tried and therefore is markedly diminished in drug resistant epilepsy patients21. There is a recognized need for more effective treatments which can improve patient outcomes and reduce the significant burden associated with experiencing uncontrolled seizures15,24,25 The ultimate aim of the treatment is to enable people with epilepsy to live life free of seizures and with minimal or no side effects.