Lisuride, an anti-parkinson medicine with demonstrated anti-seizure effects, was able to stop epileptic activity in a model of convulsant Dravet syndrome zebrafish, researchers report. The study with that finding, “Drug repurposing for Dravet syndrome in scn1Lab?/? mutant zebrafish,” was published in Epilepsia.
Recent studies have used a zebrafish model of Dravet syndrome to reveal the role of pharmacologic modulation of the serotonin (5-HT) system in treating drug-resistant seizures. Serotonin is a chemical known as a neurotransmitter (used to transmit messages between nerve cells). It plays a key role in the central nervous system (CNS) and the body’s function in general.
“With the aim to bring novel therapeutics to the market together with reducing the costs associated with traditional de novo drug development, many efforts are underway to repurpose existing drugs,” researchers wrote.
As such, investigators from the University of Leuven in Belgium, preformed a literature search on already marketed medicines that could affect the serotonin system.
They found three compounds that filled these criteria: rizatriptan (a headache medicine, brand name Maxalt), lisuride (antiparkinson medicine, brand names Dopergin, Proclacam, and Revanil) and efavirenz (an anti-HIV medicine, brand name Sustiva, among others).
They then investigated the feasibility of repurposing the above-mentioned marketed medicines as anti-epileptic drugs, particularly in difficult-to-treat epilepsy conditions like Dravet syndrome.