weather icon Mostly Cloudy

The Truth about Epilepsy

(BPT) – Corey Patrick, 37, has experienced partial-onset seizures since the age of four – at times as frequently as five per day. He is one of nearly 2.2 million Americans affected by epilepsy,[1] a neurological disorder characterized by disturbances in the brain’s nerve cells, resulting in seizures.[2] Partial-onset seizures – the most common type of seizure and the kind Corey experiences – may be associated with a wide range of other symptoms, depending on what part of the brain is affected.[3] For Corey, these seizures tend to occur at night and often resemble sleepwalking.

Corey has come to recognize his epilepsy as just one part of who he is, but he has seen how others who experience seizures have come to be defined by them. He believes that in order to alleviate some of the misperceptions out there about epilepsy, there needs to be more education about the condition.

“People living with epilepsy need to be knowledgeable about available resources and treatments, and people who do not have epilepsy need to learn more about the realities of epilepsy,” Corey said.

About half of all people living with epilepsy do not know the cause of the condition and as many as one-third are unable to sufficiently control their seizures.[4] Corey started experiencing partial-onset seizures after he was knocked to the ground by a neighbor’s dog, and hit his head. Throughout his life, Corey worked closely with his doctors to identify the right treatment for him.

A few years ago, his personal treatment journey led him to participate in a clinical trial for Aptiom® (eslicarbazepine acetate). APTIOM was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2013 as adjunctive treatment for partial-onset seizures and became commercially available in the U.S. last year. APTIOM is a prescription medicine used with other medicines to treat partial-onset seizures.

Adding APTIOM has enabled Corey to significantly decrease the frequency of his partial-onset seizures. This is meaningful to him and his family.

“My epilepsy has a significant impact on my life, and I continue to work closely with my doctor to help manage it,” Corey said. “It’s so important for people with epilepsy to know what options are available to them. For me, adding APTIOM to my other antiepileptic medicines is an important part of my treatment.”

APTIOM is a prescription medicine used in combination with other medications to treat partial-onset seizures. It is available in four tablet strengths, and can be taken once-daily, whole or crushed. The most common side effects in patients taking APTIOM included dizziness, sleepiness, nausea, headache, double vision, vomiting, feeling tired, problems with coordination, blurred vision and shakiness.[5]

“I find that some people treat me differently after I tell them I have epilepsy,” Corey said. “When really, they just do not understand what epilepsy is. I explain that it’s a neurological condition, and I am not as different as people think.”

Please see the APTIOM Medication Guide and Full Prescribing Information or www.APTIOM.com.


Aptiom® (eslicarbazepine acetate) is a prescription medicine used with other medicines to treat partial-onset seizures.

Important Safety Information:

Do not take APTIOM if you are allergic to eslicarbazepine acetate, any of the other ingredients in APTIOM, or oxcarbazepine.

Suicidal behavior and ideation: APTIOM may cause suicidal thoughts or actions, depression, or mood problems. Call your doctor right away if you experience these or any other effects or reactions: thoughts about suicide or dying; attempting to commit suicide; new or worse depression, anxiety, or irritability; feeling agitated or restless; panic attacks; trouble sleeping (insomnia); acting aggressive; being angry or violent; acting on dangerous impulses; an extreme increase in activity and talking (mania); or other unusual changes in behavior or mood.

Allergic reactions: APTIOM may cause serious skin rash or other serious allergic reactions that may affect organs or other parts of your body like the liver or blood cells. You may or may not have a rash with these types of reactions. Call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms: swelling of the face, eyes, lips, or tongue; trouble swallowing or breathing; hives; fever, swollen glands, or sore throat that do not go away or come and go; painful sores in the mouth or around your eyes; yellowing of the skin or eyes; unusual bruising or bleeding; severe fatigue or weakness; severe muscle pain; or frequent infections or infections that do not go away.

Low salt (sodium) levels in the blood: APTIOM may cause the level of sodium in your blood to be low. Symptoms may include nausea, tiredness, lack of energy, irritability, confusion, muscle weakness or muscle spasms, or more frequent or more severe seizures.

Nervous system problems: APTIOM may cause problems that can affect your nervous system, including dizziness, sleepiness, vision problems, trouble concentrating, and difficulties with coordination and balance. APTIOM may slow your thinking or motor skills. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how APTIOM affects you.

Liver problems: APTIOM may cause problems that can affect your liver. Symptoms of liver problems include yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes, nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, or dark urine.

Most common adverse reactions: The most common side effects in patients taking APTIOM include dizziness, sleepiness, nausea, headache, double vision, vomiting, feeling tired, problems with coordination, blurred vision, and shakiness.

Drug interactions: Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Taking APTIOM with certain other medicines may cause side effects or affect how well they work. Do not start or stop other medicines without talking to your healthcare provider. Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take oxcarbazepine, carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, primidone, clobazam, omeprazole, simvastatin, rosuvastatin, or birth control medicine.

Discontinuation: Do not stop taking APTIOM without first talking to your healthcare provider. Stopping APTIOM suddenly can cause serious problems.

Pregnancy and lactation: APTIOM may cause your birth control medicine to be less effective. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best birth control method to use. APTIOM may harm your unborn baby. APTIOM passes into breast milk. Tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. You and your healthcare provider will decide if you should take APTIOM. If you become pregnant while taking APTIOM, talk to your healthcare provider about registering with the North American Antiepileptic Drug (NAAED) Pregnancy Registry. The purpose of this registry is to collect information about the safety of antiepileptic medicine during pregnancy. You can enroll in this registry by calling 1-888-233-2334.

Get medical help right away if you have any of the symptoms listed above.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Corey received an honorarium from Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. for this interview.

For more information, please see the APTIOM Medication Guide and Full Prescribing Information.

Under license from BIAL.

Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a U.S. subsidiary of Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co., Ltd.

© 2015 Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. All rights reserved. 8/15 APT332-15

# # #

[1] Institute of Medicine (IOM). 2012. “Epilepsy across the spectrum: Promoting health and understanding.” Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

[2] The Mayo Clinic. Epilepsy Definition. Accessed July 7, 2014. .

[3] Hauser WA, Annegers JF, Kurland LT. “Prevalence of Epilepsy in Rochester, Minnesota: 1940-1980.” Epilepsia. 1991;32:429-445.

[4] National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke “What is Epilepsy?” Accessed 25 July 2013. .

[5] Aptiom® (eslicarbazepine acetate) Tablets Medication Guide, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. Marlborough, MA.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.