Brivaracetam (trade name: Briviact) has been approved in Germany since January 2016 as an add-on therapy for epileptic seizures in teenagers over the age of 16 and in adults. As of July 2018, it can now also be given to children as young as 4 years of age.
Epileptic seizures are triggered by abnormal activity in the nerve cells of the brain. Epileptic seizures can cause reduced consciousness, altered awareness and muscle twitching, as well as severe convulsions and discomfort. A seizure usually lasts between a few seconds and a few minutes.
Epileptic seizures are classified as either partial or generalized, depending on how much of the brain is affected. Generalized seizures affect the entire body. Partial (or focal) seizures only affect a small part of the brain, with muscle twitching or convulsions only occurring in certain parts of the body. Partial seizures can, however, spread across the whole body – this is called a “secondary generalization.”
Brivaracetam has been approved for the treatment of partial seizures with or without secondary generalization in people aged 16 years and over. The drug affects the production of neurotransmitters in the brain to prevent seizures.
Brivaracetam is used in addition to standard treatment. The drug is available in the following forms:
- Tablet (10, 25, 50, 75 or 100 mg)
- Solution to be swallowed (10 mg)
- Injection or infusion (10 mg): The drug can be injected into a vein or given as an infusion (IV drip).
In children and teenagers, the dosage will depend on their body weight. It is individually adjusted based on the severity of the seizures and the occurrence of side effects.
For people who have partial seizures, with and without secondary generalization, there are a number of add-on therapy options depending on the individual circumstances. The options include levetiracetam, valporic acid, gabapentin, lamotrigine and several other medications.
In 2018, the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany) wanted to find out whether brivaracetam has any advantages or disadvantages compared with the current standard treatments for people aged 4 and over who have partial epileptic seizures.
But the manufacturer didn't provide any suitable data with which to do the assessment.
This information summarizes the main results of several reviews produced by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany). The reviews were commissioned by the German Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) as part of the “early benefit assessment of medications.” On the basis of the reviews and the hearings received, the G-BA passed a resolution on the added benefit of brivaracetam (Briviact).
Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany). Brivaracetam – Benefit assessment according to §35a Social Code Book V. Dossier assessment; Commission A16-08. May 12, 2016. (IQWiG reports; Volume 391).
Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany). Brivaracetam (epilepsy) – Addendum to Commission 16-08. Dossier assessment; Commission A16-38. July 13, 2016. (IQWiG reports; Volume 409).
Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany). Brivaracetam (epilepsy) – Benefit assessment according to §35a Social Code Book V. Dossier assessment; Commission A18-48. October 30, 2018. (IQWiG reports; Volume 677).
IQWiG health information is written with the aim of helping
people understand the advantages and disadvantages of the main treatment options and health
Because IQWiG is a German institute, some of the information provided here is specific to the German health care system. The suitability of any of the described options in an individual case can be determined by talking to a doctor. informedhealth.org can provide support for talks with doctors and other medical professionals, but cannot replace them. We do not offer individual consultations.
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