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Inovelon® (rufinamide) Oral Suspension Formulation Launched in Spain

HATFIELD, England, January 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Child friendly formulation set to aid administration for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome

Inovelon® (rufinamide) oral suspension for adjunctive (add-on) treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) in children four years and older is launched today in Spain. As many patients who receive the orphan drug rufinamide are children, the new formulation has been developed as a child friendly drinkable liquid to aid the administration of treatment.

"As some children find tablets difficult to swallow, there is a strong need for drinkable medicines especially when treating younger LGS patients. In addition, the use of the rufinamide oral suspension allows for individual titration in smaller steps to find the optimal dose for each patient", said Dr. Juan Jose Garcia Peñas, Neuropediatrician at the Hospital Infantil Universitario Niño Jesus. "The availability of the suspension formulation of rufinamide will potentially help young patients adhere better to treatment which should help improve outcomes in the management of this severe and highly debilitating disease."

LGS is a rare form of epilepsy accounting for five percent of all cases and rising to approximately 10 percent of childhood epilepsy cases.[1] The annual incidence of the condition affects about 2.8 per 10,000 births in Europe.[1] Effective LGS management and compliance to treatment is of key importance to children as the condition is characterised by multiple daily seizures, mental retardation and regression.[2]

"The launch of the new drinkable form of rufinamide in Spain will help address the needs of children and young people with this severe form of epilepsy. Improving treatment compliance is a key factor in helping to reduce seizure frequencies, particularly for young people", said Antonio Rodriguez Gallego, Brand Manager EPBU, Eisai Farmaceutica, S.A. "Eisai is working closely with epilepsy centres in Spain to ensure the new treatment is available to patients as soon as possible.  This move is entirely in line with our on-going commitment to the therapeutic area of epilepsy and our drive to increase the benefits provided to patients and their families of our medicines through Eisai's human health care (hhc) mission."  

The oral suspension is identical in preparation to the currently marketed rufinamide tablet on a milligram per milligram basis.  Rufinamide oral suspension received positive CHMP opinion in September 2011 and formal EMA approval was granted in November 2011. The preparation was approved by the FDA and launched in the US in March 2011 (rufinamide is marketed as BANZEL® in the US).  

The development of an oral drinkable suspension formulation of rufinamide demonstrates Eisai's commitment in the therapeutic area of epilepsy and further exemplifies the company's contribution to addressing the diversified needs of and increasing the benefits provided to patients and their families as shown by its human health care (hhc) mission.

About Inovelon® (rufinamide)

Rufinamide is a triazole derivative that is structurally unrelated to currently marketed antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). It is believed to regulate the activity of sodium channels in the brain which carry excessive electrical charges. The agent was approved for adjunctive therapy for LGS in Europe (under the brand name Inovelon) in 2007.[3] Inovelon is available as film-coated tablets containing 100mg, 200mg, and 400mg rufinamide.

The film-coated formulation of rufinamide was first launched in Europe in May 2007 and is now available in 19 European countries.

About Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome

LGS is a debilitating form of childhood-onset epilepsy that most often appears between the ages of two and seven years. It is characterised by frequent and multiple seizure types, and is often accompanied by mental retardation, and psychological and behavioural problems.[4]

About Epilepsy

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological conditions in the world, affecting approximately eight in 1,000 people in Europe.[5] There are an estimated six million people living with epilepsy in Europe[6] and estimated 50 million people worldwide[7] - 10.5 million of which are children under the age of 15.[8]

Epilepsy is characterised by abnormal firing of impulses from nerve cells in the brain causing seizures. Depending on the seizure type, seizures may be limited to one part of the body, or may be generalised to involve the whole body.

Patients may also experience abnormal sensations, altered behaviour or altered consciousness. Epilepsy is a disorder with many possible causes. Often the cause of epilepsy is unknown. However, anything that disturbs the normal pattern of neuron activity - from illness to brain damage to tumours, can lead to seizures.[9]

About Eisai Europe in Epilepsy

Eisai is committed to developing and delivering highly beneficial new treatments to help improve the lives of people with epilepsy. The development of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) is a major strategic area for Eisai in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia (EMEA).

In Europe, Eisai currently has three marketed treatments including:

  • Zonegran® (zonisamide) as adjunctive therapy in adult patients with partial-onset seizures, with or without secondary generalisation. (Zonegran is under license from the originator Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma). Eisai has applied for the marketing authorisation for zonisamide as monotherapy for newly diagnosed epilepsy patients with partial seizures, with or without second generalisation
  • Zebinix® (eslicarbazepine acetate) as adjunctive therapy in adult patients with partial-onset seizures, with or without secondary generalisation. (Zebinix is under license from BIAL)
  • Inovelon® (rufinamide) for adjunctive treatment, 4 years and older of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome

About Eisai

Eisai recently expanded their UK Hatfield commercial, research and manufacturing facility which now supports the company's growing EMEA business.

Eisai concentrates its R&D activities in three key areas:

  • Neuroscience, including: Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, pain and weight loss
  • Oncology including: anticancer therapies; tumour regression, tumour suppression, antibodies, etc.
  • Vascular/Immunological reaction including: thrombocytopenia, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease

With operations in the U.S., Asia, Europe and its domestic home market of Japan, Eisai employs more than 11,000 people worldwide. In Europe, Eisai undertakes sales and marketing operations in over 20 markets, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Ireland, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Portugal, Iceland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Middle East and Russia.

For further information please visit our web site http://www.eisai.com.


1. Kenou van Rijckevorsel Treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome: overview and recent findings. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2008 December; 4(6): 1001-1019.

2. MedScape references Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1176735-overview (Accessed February 2012)

3. Inovelon tablets Summary of Product Characteristics http://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/20165/SPC/ [http://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/20165/SPC ] (Accessed January 2012)

4. International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences. http://www.ijpbs.net/issue-3/82.pdf (Accessed February 2012)

5. Pugliatti M et al. Estimating the cost of epilepsy in Europe: A review with economic modeling. Epilepsia 2007: 48(12) 2224-2233

6. ILAE/IBE/WHO, Epilepsy in the WHO European Region: Fostering Epilepsy Care in Europe 2010. Available from; http://www.ilae-epilepsy.org/Visitors/Documents/EUROReport160510.pdf (Accessed February 2011)

7. Epilepsy Society UK: http://www.epilepsysociety.org.uk/AboutEpilepsy/Whatisepilepsy/Epilepsy-didyouknow (Accessed February 2012)

8. Forsgren L. Epilepsy in Children. 2nd Ed London. Arnold, 2004. 21-25

9. Epilepsy Research UK. What is Epilepsy? Fact sheet. Available from URL: http://www.epilepsyresearch.org.uk/about_us/leaflets/lflt1.htm (Accessed February 2012)


Date of preparation: January 2013

Job code: Inovelon-UK2277

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