May 23, 2023

Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy During Cenobamate Clinical Development

Abstract found on PubMed

Objective: We assessed mortality, sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), and standardized mortality ratio (SMR) among adults treated with cenobamate during the cenobamate clinical development program.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed deaths among all adults with uncontrolled focal (focal to bilateral tonic-clonic [FBTC], focal impaired awareness, focal aware) or primary generalized tonic-clonic (PGTC) seizures who received ?1 dose of adjunctive cenobamate in completed and ongoing phase 2 and 3 clinical studies. In patients with focal seizures from completed studies, median baseline seizure frequencies ranged from 2.8 to 11 seizures per 28 days and median epilepsy duration ranged from 20 to 24 years. Total person-years included all days a patient received cenobamate during completed studies or up to June 1, 2022 for ongoing studies. All deaths were evaluated by two epileptologists. All-cause mortality and SUDEP rates were expressed per 1000 person-years.

Results: A total of 2132 patients (n=2018 focal epilepsy; n=114 idiopathic generalized epilepsy) were exposed to cenobamate for 5693 person-years. Approximately 60% of patients with focal seizures and all patients in the PGTC study had tonic-clonic seizures. A total of 23 deaths occurred (all in patients with focal epilepsy), for an all-cause mortality rate of 4.0 per 1000 person-years. Five cases of definite or probable SUDEP were identified, for a rate of 0.88 per 1000 person-years. Of the 23 overall deaths, 22 patients (96%) had FBTC seizures, and all 5 of the SUDEP patients had a history of FBTC seizures. The duration of exposure to cenobamate for patients with SUDEP ranged from 130-620 days. The SMR among cenobamate-treated patients in completed studies (5515 person-years of follow-up) was 1.32 (95% CI 0.84-2.0), which was not significantly different from the general population.

Significance: These data suggest that effective long-term medical treatment with cenobamate may reduce excess mortality associated with epilepsy.

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