Pharma Focus Asia

Antiepileptic Drugs In Development Pipeline: A Recent Update

Authors: Harjeet Kaur, Baldeep Kumar, Bikash Medhi


Epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder which significantly affects the quality of life and poses a health as well as economic burden on society. Epilepsy affects approximately 70 million people in the world. The present article reviews the scientific rationale, brief pathophysiology of epilepsy and newer antiepileptic drugs which are presently under clinical development. We have searched the investigational drugs using the key words ‘antiepileptic drugs,’ ‘epilepsy,’ ‘Phase I,’ ‘Phase II’ and ‘Phase III’ in American clinical trial registers (, the relevant published articles using National Library of Medicine's PubMed database, company websites and supplemented results with a manual search of cross-references and conference abstracts. This review provides a brief description about the antiepileptic drugs which are targeting different mechanisms and the clinical development status of these drugs. Besides the presence of old as well as new AEDs, still there is a need of new drugs or the modified version of old drugs in order to make affected people free of seizures. An optimistic approach should be used to translate the success of preclinical testing to clinical practice. There is an urgent need to improve animal models and to explore new targets with better understanding in order to develop the novel drugs with more efficacy and safety.


Seizures; Epilepsy; Drug development; Neuroprotection; Clinical trial; Antiepileptic

Citation: Harjeet Kaur, Baldeep Kumar, Bikash Medhi Antiepileptic Drugs In Development Pipeline: A Recent Update

Received: 16 September 2015, Revised: 16 April 2016, Accepted: 15 June 2016, Available online: 17 June 2016

Copyright: © 2016 Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license(

Discussion & conclusion

In the past few decades, several new antiepileptic drugs have been developed for the treatment of seizures and epilepsy but most of the available antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are not showing any efficacy in patients with refractory epilepsy. Thus, there is a need for discovery and development of some novel antiepileptic agents with more efficacy and safety in treating the refractory seizures. Currently, the research should be focused on the newer strategies to develop the novel compounds by targeting the mechanisms involved in epileptogenesis and pharmacoresistance. In this review, we discussed about the current scenario in the development of investigational drugs possessing antiepileptic potential. Most of the researchers and pharmaceutical industries have adopted three main approaches for developing new antiepileptic drugs including, i) structural modification of existing drugs, ii) compounds targeting the novel mechanisms, and iii) non-mechanism based screening of drug compounds in conventional and newer animal models of epilepsy.

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