September 14, 2022

Drug Resistance in Idiopathic Generalized Epilepsies– Evidence and Concepts

Abstract found on Wiley Online Library

Although approximately 10-15% of patients with idiopathic/genetic generalized epilepsy (IGE/GGE) remain drug-resistant, there is no consensus or established concept regarding the underlying mechanisms and prevalence. This review summarizes the recent data and the current hypotheses on mechanisms that may contribute to drug-resistant IGE.

A literature search was conducted in PubMed and Embase for studies on mechanisms of drug resistance published since 1980. The literature shows neither consensus on the definition nor a widely accepted model to explain drug resistance in IGE or one of its subsyndromes. Large-scale genetic studies have failed to identify distinct genetic causes or affected genes involved in pharmacokinetics. We found clinical and experimental evidence in support of four hypotheses: (I) “Network hypothesis”—the degree of drug resistance in IGE reflects the severity of cortical network alterations, (II) “Minor focal lesion in a predisposed brain hypothesis”—minor cortical lesions are important for drug resistance, (III) “Interneuron hypothesis” —impaired functioning of GABAergic interneurons contributes to drug resistance, and (IV) “changes in drug kinetics” —genetically impaired kinetics of antiseizure medication (ASM) reduce the effectiveness of available ASMs.

In summary, the exact definition and cause of drug resistance in IGE is unknown. However, published evidence suggests four different mechanisms that may warrant further investigation.