Use of novel drug delivery methods could enhance the efficacy and reduce the toxicity of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Slow-release oral forms of medication or depot drugs such as skin patches might improve compliance and therefore seizure control. In emergency situations, administration via rectal, nasal or buccal mucosa can deliver the drug more quickly than can oral administration. Slow-release oral forms and rectal forms of AEDs are already approved for use, nasal and buccal administration is currently off-label and skin patches for AEDs are an attractive but currently hypothetical option. Therapies under development may result in the delivery of AEDs directly to the regions of the brain involved in seizures. Experimental protocols are underway to allow continuous infusion of potent excitatory amino acid antagonists into the CSF. In experiments with animal models of epilepsy, AEDs have been delivered successfully to seizure foci in the brain by programmed infusion pumps, acting in response to computerised EEG seizure detection. Inactive prodrugs can be given systemically and activated at the site of the seizure focus by locally released compounds. One such drug under development is DP-VPA (or DP16), which is cleaved to valproic acid (sodium valproate) by phospholipases at the seizure focus. Liposomes and nanoparticles are engineered micro-reservoirs of a drug, with attached antibodies or receptor-specific binding agents designed to target the particles to a specific region of the body. Liposomes in theory could deliver a high concentration of an AED to a seizure focus. Penetration of the blood-brain barrier can be accomplished by linking large particles to iron transferrin or biological toxins that can cross the barrier. In the near future, it is likely that cell transplants that generate neurotransmitters and neuromodulators will accomplish renewable endogenous drug delivery. However, the survival and viability of transplanted cells have yet to be demonstrated in the clinical setting. Gene therapy also may play a role in local drug delivery with the use of adenovirus, adeno-associated virus, herpesvirus or other delivery vectors to induce brain cells to produce local modulatory substances. New delivery systems should significantly improve the therapeutic/toxic ratio of AEDs.
View details for PubMedID 12153331