Reasons for ineligibility for clinical trials of patients with medication-resistant epilepsy

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Journal Article

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antiepileptic drug; antiseizure medication; clinical trial design; drug-resistant epilepsy


Selection criteria for clinical trials for medication-resistant epilepsy are used to limit variability and to ensure safety. However, it has become more challenging to recruit subjects for trials. This study investigated the impact of each inclusion and exclusion criterion on medication-resistant epilepsy clinical trial recruitment at a large academic epilepsy center. We retrospectively identified all patients with medication-resistant focal or generalized onset epilepsy who attended an outpatient clinic over a consecutive 3-month period. We assessed each patient's eligibility for trials with commonly required inclusion and exclusion criteria to evaluate the proportion of eligible patients and the most common reasons for exclusion. Among 212 patients with medication-resistant epilepsy, 144 and 28 patients met the criteria for focal or generalized onset epilepsy, respectively. Overall, 9.4% (n = 20) patients were eligible for trials (19 focal onset and one generalized onset). Most patients were excluded from the study due to insufficient seizure frequency (58% of focal onset, 55% of generalized onset). A small proportion of patients with medication-resistant epilepsy were eligible for trials based on common selection criteria. These eligible patients may not be representative of the general population of patients with medication-resistant epilepsy. Insufficient seizure frequency was the most common reason for exclusion.