A new drug for epilepsy patients who suffer partial-onset seizures, with or without secondary generalised seizures, is now available on the NHS.

Briviact® (brivaracetam) has been authorised as an add-on treatment in adults aged 16 years or over who have the neurological condition.

Epilepsy affects around 600,000 people in the UK however it is not always controlled by medication, putting patients at risk of serious injury and even death.

Only 52% of people treated for epilepsy are seizure-free but that figure could rise to 70% with the right treatment.

Brivaracetam is an anti-epileptic drug (AED) that provides patients with a new opportunity to better manage their seizures.

Dr Mark Manford, consultant neurologist at Bedford and Addenbrookes Hospitals, said: “Finding the right combination of medicines for many epilepsy patients can be a long journey, during which time the patient may continue to suffer seizures and living a normal life is very difficult.

“As a neurologist working with patients whose seizures have not yet been brought under control, I welcome the possibility that a new medicine may be able to contribute to the tools available to help my patients.”

Brivaracetam, researched and developed by UCB, is a selective synaptic vesicle protein 2A ligand medication available in three formulations - film-coated tablets, oral solution and solution for injection or infusion.

It is indicated as adjunctive therapy in the treatment of partial-onset seizures with or without secondary generalisation in adult and adolescent patients from 16 years of age with epilepsy.

It works by targeting a specific glycoprotein on pre-synaptic vesicles in the brain.

It is thought that this prevents neurotransmitter release thereby stopping the signals responsible for seizures, but research is continuing to confirm this.

Brivaracetam can be initiated without titration, meaning patients can receive a therapeutic dose of brivaracetam from the first day of treatment.

Physicians are also able to adjust dosing up or down depending on patient response and tolerability.

Simon Wigglesworth, deputy chief executive at Epilepsy Action, said: “Seizures can have a significant impact on people's lives and wellbeing so it's really important that those with epilepsy can access the best possible treatment to help them enjoy life to the full.

“It is always encouraging to see the creation of new medicines for people with epilepsy. Brivaracetam could be an effective treatment for those people with epilepsy who have so far struggled to become seizure free.”