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News & Media

Media Release

Date: 11 November 2016

Bath doctors discover improved treatment for child epilepsy

Doctors from Bath have discovered an improved way of treating a rare form of childhood epilepsy.

Twelve years ago the same team from the Royal United Hospital and the University of Bath discovered that treating infantile spasms with hormone therapy for two weeks was highly successful.

Now, after a worldwide trial involving 377 infants from a network of more than 160 hospitals in the UK, mainland Europe, Australia and New Zealand, they have found that a combination of hormonal treatment and the anti-epileptic drug vigabatrin is safe and significantly more effective at stopping infantile spasms than hormones alone.

The results, published in the medical journal the Lancet Neurology this week, also showed that giving the combined treatment stopped the spasms a lot quicker.

Dr Finbar O'Callaghan, Consultant Paediatric Neurologist and Professor John Osborne at the RUH, who jointly led the study, said: "Infantile spasms, also known as West syndrome, is a devastating form of infantile epilepsy that is difficult to treat and
is associated with a poor outcome.

This study suggests a new treatment approach that will stop spasms faster and in more children than has previously been achieved with existing treatment strategies.
It is therefore possible that this will lessen the long-term damage from this devastating epilepsy on developmental outcomes."

The International Collaborative Infantile Spasms Study (ICISS) is the largest treatment trial of patients with infantile spasms ever undertaken. It was organised and
co-ordinated from the Trial Centre in the Children's Centre at the Royal United Hospital (RUH) in Bath in association with the Department for Health, University of Bath.


Notes for editors

The International Collaborative Infantile Spasms Study (ICISS).

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