Medtronic plc, the global leader in medical technology, announced on April 30, 2018 that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted premarket approval for Medtronic’s Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) therapy as adjunctive treatment for reducing the frequency of partial-onset seizures, in individuals 18 years of age or older who are refractory, or drug-resistant, to three or more antiepileptic medications. DBS therapy for epilepsy delivers controlled electrical pulses to a target in the brain called the anterior nucleus of the thalamus (ANT), which is part of a network involved in seizures.
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, 3.4 million individuals in the United States have epilepsy. Antiepileptic drug (AED) medication is the primary treatment to control seizures; however, up to one third of individuals with epilepsy have seizures that do not successfully respond to AEDs.
“Many patients in the United States with severe epilepsy are not able to control their seizures with currently-available drugs and are not candidates for potentially curative surgery,” said Dr. Robert Fisher, director of the Stanford Epilepsy Center, Stanford University, and lead principal investigator of the SANTE trial. “Epilepsy that is refractory to AED treatment is an unsolved problem, and DBS therapy will now serve as an important new treatment option, including for people with poorly localized or multiple regions of seizure origin.”
The FDA approval is based on both the blinded phase and the 7-year follow-up data collected in Medtronic’s clinical trial called SANTE (Stimulation of the Anterior Nucleus of the Thalamus in Epilepsy). The SANTE trial was a prospective, randomized, double-blind pivotal study to evaluate the use of DBS therapy for patients with medically refractory epilepsy with partial-onset seizures, with or without secondary generalization, that were drug-resistant to three or more antiepileptic medications. The trial collected data from 110 patients who were implanted with a Medtronic DBS system at 17 centers located in the US.