Publications by authors named "Enrique Carrazana"

38 Publications

Variables Associated with Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccine Hesitancy Amongst Patients with Neurological Disorders.

Infect Dis Rep 2021 Aug 30;13(3):763-810. Epub 2021 Aug 30.

John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA.

Introduction: Given that the success of vaccines against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) relies on herd immunity, identifying patients at risk for vaccine hesitancy is imperative-particularly for those at high risk for severe COVID-19 (i.e., minorities and patients with neurological disorders).

Methods: Among patients from a large neuroscience institute in Hawaii, vaccine hesitancy was investigated in relation to over 30 sociodemographic variables and medical comorbidities, via a telephone quality improvement survey conducted between 23 January 2021 and 13 February 2021.

Results: Vaccine willingness ( = 363) was 81.3%. Univariate analysis identified that the odds of vaccine acceptance reduced for patients who do not regard COVID-19 as a severe illness, are of younger age, have a lower Charlson Comorbidity Index, use illicit drugs, or carry Medicaid insurance. Multivariable logistic regression identified the best predictors of vaccine hesitancy to be: social media use to obtain COVID-19 information, concerns regarding vaccine safety, self-perception of a preexisting medical condition contraindicated with vaccination, not having received the annual influenza vaccine, having some high school education only, being a current smoker, and not having a prior cerebrovascular accident. Unique amongst males, a conservative political view strongly predicted vaccine hesitancy. Specifically for Asians, a higher body mass index, while for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders (NHPI), a positive depression screen, both reduced the odds of vaccine acceptance.

Conclusion: Upon identifying the variables associated with vaccine hesitancy amongst patients with neurological disorders, our clinic is now able to efficiently provide ancillary COVID-19 education to sub-populations at risk for vaccine hesitancy. While our results may be limited to the sub-population of patients with neurological disorders, the findings nonetheless provide valuable insight to understanding vaccine hesitancy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/idr13030072DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8482072PMC
August 2021

Recommendations for development of acute seizure action plans (ASAPs) from an expert panel.

Epilepsy Behav 2021 10 2;123:108264. Epub 2021 Sep 2.

Neurelis, Inc., San Diego, CA, USA.

Purpose Of Review: Disease-related treatment action plans for acute exacerbations providing information that may be helpful for self-management for patients and caregivers are commonly used for chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes. However, among patients with epilepsy, a review of the literature suggested that the majority did not have an action plan in place for acute seizure treatment.

Recent Findings: Currently, there is a lack of unified guidance on seizure action plans (SAPs) in the literature. In the authors' opinion, available formats have limitations for practical use and may not be easily customizable to individual patients, and they are not often designed to provide simple-to-follow steps for rapid immediate steps to determine and initiate appropriate treatment of seizure emergencies. Our group reviewed current examples of SAPs and provided guidance on the development of acute seizure action plans (ASAPs) designed to facilitate rapid, appropriate acute care in the community and to be as useful as possible for a wide range of care partners, including those with limited experience.

Summary: This paper provides agreed upon expert opinion recommendations and considerations for goals, development process, types of content, and format for an ASAP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2021.108264DOI Listing
October 2021

Disparities in Alzheimer Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment Among Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

Cogn Behav Neurol 2021 09 2;34(3):200-206. Epub 2021 Sep 2.

Departments of Medicine.

Background: Previous studies of racial differences in Alzheimer disease (AD) presentation have not included Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPI).

Objective: To explore the presentation of AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in NHPI.

Method: We conducted a retrospective review of patient records from Hawaii with a diagnosis of unspecified AD or MCI from September 2000 to September 2019. Variables of interest included age at diagnosis, gender, race, marital status, insurance, comorbidities, and scores on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) or the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA).

Results: We reviewed the medical records of 598 patients, including 224 Asians, 202 Whites, 87 NHPI, and 85 Other. AD was more dominant than MCI across all of the groups, with the highest percentage in NHPI. Among the mean ages of diagnosis, NHPI were the youngest. Across all groups, a higher proportion of women than men had AD, with the highest female prevalence among NHPI. Hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and type II diabetes were highest among NHPI compared with the other groups. Of individuals with MMSE/MoCA scores, there were significant variations in scores by racial group. The mean MMSE/MoCA score was highest among Whites and lowest among NHPI.

Conclusion: Compared with other racial groups, NHPI have a higher proportion of AD than MCI at diagnosis, are diagnosed at a younger age, have a higher female prevalence, have more comorbidities that may contribute to AD/MCI onset, and present with lower MMSE scores.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/WNN.0000000000000279DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8425603PMC
September 2021

Characterizing idiopathic intracranial hypertension socioeconomic disparities and clinical risk factors: A retrospective case-control study.

Clin Neurol Neurosurg 2021 Sep 14;208:106894. Epub 2021 Aug 14.

University of Hawaii at Mānoa, John A. Burns School of Medicine, Honolulu, HI, USA; University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, Department of Neurological Surgery, Sacramento, CA, USA. Electronic address:

Introduction: Against the backdrop of the diverse minority-majority state of Hawaii, this study seeks to better characterize associations between idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) with sociodemographic variables and medical comorbidities.

Methods: A retrospective case-control study was conducted by utilizing 54 IIH patients and 216 age-, sex-, and race-matched controls, 216 unmatched controls, and 63 age-, sex-, and race-matched migraine patients.

Results: Relative to controls, IIH were 25 years younger (p < 0.0001) and 10.18 kg/m heavier (p < 0.0001), as well as exhibited greater odds of the following variables (p < 0.05): female (odds ratio [OR]: 8.87), the lowest income quartile (OR: 2.33), Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (NHPI; OR: 2.23), Native American or Alaskan Native (OR: 16.50), obesity class 2 (35.0-39.9 kg/m; OR: 4.10), obesity class 3 (>40 kg/m; OR: 6.10), recent weight gain (OR: 11.66), current smoker (OR: 2.48), hypertensive (OR: 3.08), and peripheral vascular disease (OR: 16.42). Odds of IIH were reduced (p < 0.05) for patients who were Asian (OR: 0.27) or students (OR: 0.30;). Unique from Whites, NHPI IIH patients exhibited greater odds (p < 0.05) for being from lower socioeconomic status and currently smoking, as well as potential association with seizures (p = 0.08). Compared to migraines, IIH headaches were at increased odds of occurring (p < 0.05) occipitally, for greater than 15 days per month, aggravated by postural changes, and comorbid with dizziness and tinnitus.

Conclusions: These results not only better characterize IIH, but also highlight socioeconomic and racial disparities in diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clineuro.2021.106894DOI Listing
September 2021

Improvement of Intranasal Drug Delivery with Intravail Alkylsaccharide Excipient as a Mucosal Absorption Enhancer Aiding in the Treatment of Conditions of the Central Nervous System.

Drugs R D 2021 Aug 25. Epub 2021 Aug 25.

Neurelis, Inc., San Diego, CA, USA.

Intranasal drug administration is a commonly used route for therapeutic formulations, but there may be challenges associated with a lack of absorption and bioavailability, as well as damage to mucosal tissue. To address these issues, potential absorption enhancers that are generally nonirritating to nasal mucosal tissue have been investigated as excipients in intranasal formulations. Among those studied are alkylsaccharides, which are composed of sugars covalently coupled to at least one alkyl chain. Alkylsaccharides have been shown to be nontoxic and have been used in food products as emulsifiers. In clinical trials, alkylsaccharide excipients have demonstrated substantially increased absorption of therapeutic agents across mucosal membranes and have been shown to be applicable to a wide range of types of molecules and molecular weights. Because they are water and oil soluble, alkylsaccharide excipients can be used in formulations with both hydrophilic and hydrophobic drugs. They are also effective in safely stabilizing protein therapeutics. An example of an alkylsaccharide excipient is dodecyl maltoside (Intravail; 511 Da, stable long term when stored cold), which provides absorption enhancement by paracellular and transcellular routes. Dodecyl maltoside has been shown to be generally nonirritating to the nose and to promote systemic bioavailability. Dodecyl maltoside is used in US Food and Drug Administration-approved intranasal formulations of sumatriptan for migraine headaches and diazepam nasal spray for patients with epilepsy with acute seizure clusters.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40268-021-00360-5DOI Listing
August 2021

Final results from a Phase 3, long-term, open-label, repeat-dose safety study of diazepam nasal spray for seizure clusters in patients with epilepsy.

Epilepsia 2021 Oct 21;62(10):2485-2495. Epub 2021 Aug 21.

Neurelis, San Diego, California, USA.

Objective: A Phase 3 open-label safety study (NCT02721069) evaluated long-term safety of diazepam nasal spray (Valtoco) in patients with epilepsy and frequent seizure clusters.

Methods: Patients were 6-65 years old with diagnosed epilepsy and seizure clusters despite stable antiseizure medications. The treatment period was 12 months, with study visits at Day 30 and every 60 days thereafter, after which patients could elect to continue. Doses were based on age and weight. Seizure and treatment information was recorded in diaries. Treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs), nasal irritation, and olfactory changes were recorded.

Results: Of 163 patients in the safety population, 117 (71.8%) completed the study. Duration of exposure was ≥12 months for 81.6% of patients. There was one death (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy) and one withdrawal owing to a TEAE (major depression), both considered unlikely to be related to treatment. Diazepam nasal spray was administered 4390 times for 3853 seizure clusters, with 485 clusters treated with a second dose within 24 h; 53.4% of patients had monthly average usage of one to two doses, 41.7% two to five doses, and 4.9% more than five doses. No serious TEAEs were considered to be treatment related. TEAEs possibly or probably related to treatment (n = 30) were most commonly nasal discomfort (6.1%); headache (2.5%); and dysgeusia, epistaxis, and somnolence (1.8% each). Only 13 patients (7.9%) showed nasal irritation, and there were no relevant olfactory changes. The safety profile of diazepam nasal spray was generally similar across subgroups based on age, monthly usage, concomitant benzodiazepine therapy, or seasonal allergy/rhinitis.

Significance: In this large open-label safety study, the safety profile of diazepam nasal spray was consistent with the established profile of rectal diazepam, and the high retention rate supports effectiveness in this population. A second dose was used in only 12.6% of seizure clusters.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.17041DOI Listing
October 2021

Effectiveness of dual migraine therapy with CGRP inhibitors and onabotulinumtoxinA injections: case series.

Neurol Sci 2021 Aug 18. Epub 2021 Aug 18.

Headache & Facial Pain Center, Hawaii Pacific Neuroscience, Honolulu, HI, USA.

Aims: Clinical trials for calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) inhibitors excluded the concomitant use of onabotulinumtoxinA; thus, there is a lack of efficacy and safety data of the combined therapies. Our study aims to examine the effectiveness of CGRP inhibitors with onabotulinumtoxinA by evaluating migraine reductions in headache days and severity.

Methods: Seventeen patients with chronic migraines were identified who had a partial or poor response to onabotulinumtoxinA, and were placed on dual therapy with a CGRP inhibitor. Patients' initial headache days and severity ratings were compared to final values taken 1-6 months after adding the CGRP inhibitor to their treatment regime. Comparisons between headache days and severity ratings prior to and during dual treatment were performed utilizing the Kruskal-Wallis test. The significance was set at p < 0.05.

Results: Of 17 patients (16F/1 M), n = 9 were taking fremanezumab, n = 4 were taking erenumab, and n = 4 were taking galcanezumab. Patients' average headache days per month was reduced from 27.6 ± 4.8 initially to 18.6 ± 9.4 post-treatment (p = 0.00651), and their average pain level was reduced from 8.4 ± 1.4 out of 10 to 5.4 ± 2.5 (p = 0.00074). No serious adverse side effects were reported from patients on dual therapy.

Conclusion: Patients with suboptimal response to onabotulinumtoxinA may benefit from CGRP inhibitors' addition to their migraine regimens. Placebo-controlled randomized studies are advised to corroborate this finding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10072-021-05547-xDOI Listing
August 2021

Consistent safety and tolerability of Valtoco (diazepam nasal spray) in relationship to usage frequency in patients with seizure clusters: Interim results from a phase 3, long-term, open-label, repeat-dose safety study.

Epilepsia Open 2021 Sep 13;6(3):504-512. Epub 2021 May 13.

Neurelis, Inc., San Diego, CA, USA.

Objective: Need for rescue therapy differs among patients with seizure clusters. Diazepam nasal spray is approved to treat seizure clusters in patients with epilepsy ≥6 years of age. This analysis used interim data from a phase 3 safety study to assess safety profile and effectiveness of diazepam nasal spray using average number of doses/month as a proxy measurement.

Methods: This phase 3, open-label, repeat-dose, safety study of diazepam nasal spray enrolled patients (6-65 years) with epilepsy and need of benzodiazepine rescue. Patients were stratified by average number of doses/month (<2, moderate frequency; 2-5, high frequency; >5, very-high frequency). Safety was evaluated based on treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs), assessed nasal irritation, and olfaction. The proportion of treatments given as a second dose was used as an exploratory proxy for effectiveness.

Results: Of 175 enrolled patients (data cutoff, October 31, 2019), 158 received ≥1 dose of diazepam nasal spray. Frequency of use was moderate in 43.7% of patients, high in 50.6% of patients, and very high in 5.7% of patients. Patients treated 3397 seizure episodes (moderate frequency, 14.2%; high frequency, 59.9%; very high frequency, 25.8%). Nasal discomfort was the most common treatment-related TEAE in all groups. No notable changes in nasal irritation or olfaction were observed. Second doses represented only 2.5%, 7.5%, and 17.2% of all doses in the moderate-, high-, and very-high-frequency groups, respectively. Overall retention rate was 82.9%, without an observed relationship to frequency of use.

Significance: Frequency of dosing diazepam nasal spray had little impact on the safety/tolerability profile across a range of <2 to >5 doses/month. Effectiveness was suggested for all dosing frequencies by the high proportion of seizure clusters not treated with a second dose. These results support the utility, safety profile, and effectiveness of diazepam nasal spray across frequencies of seizure cluster burden.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/epi4.12494DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8408590PMC
September 2021

Examining the patient and caregiver experience with diazepam nasal spray for seizure clusters: Results from an exit survey of a phase 3, open-label, repeat-dose safety study.

Epilepsy Behav 2021 08 19;121(Pt A):108013. Epub 2021 May 19.

Neurelis, Inc., 3430 Carmel Mountain Road, Suite 300, San Diego, CA 92121, United States.

Background: Ideal rescue treatments for acute treatment of seizure clusters should be easy to administer, so it is important to assess user perceptions of these treatments. Diazepam nasal spray is designed to have a rapid, noninvasive, and socially acceptable route of administration. Patient and caregiver (including care partner) responses to surveys from a phase 3 safety study of diazepam nasal spray are reported.

Methods: The study enrolled patients aged 6-65 years with seizure clusters. Surveys distributed to patients and caregivers at study end, completion, or discontinuation collected data on comfort using diazepam nasal spray outside the home, timing of administration and return to their usual selves, and comfort of use compared with rectal diazepam. Safety was assessed.

Results: Of 175 patients enrolled at the October 31, 2019, interim cutoff, 158 received diazepam nasal spray. Sixty-seven (42.4%) patients and 84 (53.2%) caregivers responded to the surveys (including 35 matched pairs). Most patients (78.8%, 52/66) responded that they were very comfortable doing activities outside the home with diazepam nasal spray available; 59.4% of patients returned to their usual selves within an hour of administration. Twenty-seven (40.3%) of these patients reported self-administration, 48% doing so at the first sign of a seizure. Administration of diazepam nasal spray was rated extremely or very easy by 93.8% of caregivers. Safety profile was consistent with diazepam rectal gel; no patient discontinued owing to treatment-emergent adverse events. Nasal discomfort was typically mild and transient. Among patients who had used diazepam rectal gel, most were not at all comfortable using it outside the home (86.7%) or at home (64.5%) compared with diazepam nasal spray, whereas caregivers reported that diazepam rectal gel was not at all easy to use compared with diazepam nasal spray.

Conclusions: This survey from the phase 3 safety study of diazepam nasal spray shows that patients and caregivers were satisfied with, and more comfortable using, diazepam nasal spray than rectal diazepam in public. NCT02721069.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2021.108013DOI Listing
August 2021

Portrait of My Father: Frida Kahlo's Intimate Relation to Epilepsy.

Eur Neurol 2021 19;84(4):295-299. Epub 2021 May 19.

Hawaii Pacific Neuroscience, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

The painting Portrait of My Father (1951) by the Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo, is discussed by the author within the context of epilepsy and biographical events in the lives of both Frida and her father, the German Mexican photographer Guillermo Kahlo. The biographical accounts of the photographer's seizures are suggestive of juvenile absence epilepsy but cannot discount the possibility of posttraumatic epilepsy of mesial frontal origin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000516321DOI Listing
May 2021

Lack of observed tolerance to diazepam nasal spray (Valtoco®) after long-term rescue therapy in patients with epilepsy: Interim results from a phase 3, open-label, repeat-dose safety study.

Epilepsy Behav 2021 07 3;120:107983. Epub 2021 May 3.

Neurelis, Inc., San Diego, CA, USA.

Objective: Tolerance is a known consideration for maintenance use of benzodiazepines and other antiseizure drugs; however, clinical experience suggests that tolerance may not be anticipated with long-term intermittent use of benzodiazepines as rescue therapy. Diazepam nasal spray (Valtoco®) is a proprietary intranasal formulation approved for the acute treatment of intermittent, stereotypic episodes of frequent seizure activity (ie, seizure clusters, acute repetitive seizures) in patients with epilepsy aged ≥6 years. Reported here are exploratory analyses investigating whether there was evidence of development of tolerance in an interim analysis of a long-term, phase 3, open-label safety study of diazepam nasal spray.

Methods: Patients and care partners were trained to administer 5, 10, 15, or 20 mg of diazepam nasal spray (age- and weight-based dosing), with a second dose administered 4-12 hours later if needed. A series of analyses were performed to assess evidence of tolerance using 2 equal, adjacent time periods and data for each patient to compare the proportion of events for which second doses of diazepam nasal spray (as a proxy for effectiveness) were administered in period 1 compared with period 2.

Results: A total of 175 patients were enrolled at interim cutoff, and 158 were treated with diazepam nasal spray for 3370 seizure-cluster events. For 73.4% of patients, duration of exposure to diazepam nasal spray was ≥12 months. A total of 191 analyses were conducted; the proportion of analyses in which second doses in period 2 were lower than in period 1 was 72.8%. Only 5 analyses showed nominally statistically significant changes (P < 0.05); this is fewer than expected by chance, and these differences were not directionally consistent. There was no safety signal with continued use.

Conclusions: These analyses found no statistical evidence of tolerance with the use of diazepam nasal spray over time based on use of a second dose in an initial period of the study compared with a subsequent period for each patient. These results are in agreement with prior studies of benzodiazepine rescue therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2021.107983DOI Listing
July 2021

Evaluation of diazepam nasal spray in patients with epilepsy concomitantly using maintenance benzodiazepines: An interim subgroup analysis from a phase 3, long-term, open-label safety study.

Epilepsia 2021 06 4;62(6):1442-1450. Epub 2021 May 4.

Neurelis, Inc, San Diego, CA, USA.

Objective: Diazepam nasal spray (Valtoco), indicated for acute treatment of frequent seizure activity (seizure clusters) in patients with epilepsy ≥6 years of age, is designed to be a rapid, noninvasive, socially acceptable route of administration. This interim analysis evaluated the safety profile of diazepam nasal spray in patients with and without concomitant use of benzodiazepines, with use of a second dose for a seizure cluster as a proxy for effectiveness.

Methods: A long-term, phase 3, open-label safety study enrolled patients with epilepsy who had seizures despite a stable antiseizure medication regimen.

Results: Among 175 patients enrolled by October 31, 2019, a total of 158 were treated with diazepam nasal spray (aged 6-65 years; 53.8% female). Of those, 119 (75.3%) received concomitant benzodiazepines (60, chronic; 59, intermittent); 39 (24.7%) did not. Use of a second dose was similar in patients using chronic concomitant benzodiazepines (second dose in 11.1% [144/1299]) and those with no concomitant benzodiazepines (second dose in 10.3% [41/398]). Treatment emergent adverse events (TEAEs) occurred for 80.0% with chronic use of concomitant benzodiazepines and 61.5% without. Cardiorespiratory depression was not reported, and no serious TEAEs were treatment related. Study retention was high: 83.3% in the chronic benzodiazepine group and 76.9% in the no-benzodiazepine group. Findings were similar in a sub-analysis of patients who were (n = 44) or were not (n = 75) taking clobazam.

Significance: This analysis of patients from a long-term study shows a similar safety profile of diazepam nasal spray in patients with and without concomitant benzodiazepines, and consistent with the established profile for diazepam. Use of a single dose of diazepam nasal spray and high study retention rates suggest the effectiveness of diazepam nasal spray in patients irrespective of chronic daily benzodiazepine use. Results were similar in the clobazam sub-analysis. These results support the safety and effectiveness of diazepam nasal spray in patients with concomitant benzodiazepine use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.16901DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8252651PMC
June 2021

Lack of observed impact of history or concomitant treatment of seasonal allergies or rhinitis on repeated doses of diazepam nasal spray administered per seizure episode in a day, safety, and tolerability: Interim results from a phase 3, open-label, 12-month repeat-dose safety study.

Epilepsy Behav 2021 05 19;118:107898. Epub 2021 Mar 19.

Neurelis, Inc., San Diego, CA, United States. Electronic address:

Intranasal formulations are commonly used for drug delivery, and the literature has shown that seasonal allergies do not affect nasal administration of some agents. Diazepam nasal spray (Valtoco®) is a proprietary intranasal formulation with n-dodecyl-beta-d-maltoside (Intravail® A3) that is indicated for acute treatment of seizure clusters in patients with epilepsy aged 6 years and older. The analysis presented here is from an interim cutoff of a phase 3 open-label study evaluating the safety and tolerability of diazepam nasal spray. This analysis assessed whether seasonal allergies alter control of seizures with an intranasal formulation, using administration of a second dose as a surrogate efficacy endpoint. Of 158 evaluated patients with epilepsy having seizures despite a stable anti-seizure regimen, 62 patients had medical histories that included seasonal allergies or rhinitis. The results of this analysis show that seasonal allergies did not appear to influence use of a second dose; the groups of patients with and without a history of seasonal allergies both presented with low rates of seizure episodes for which a second dose was used, which suggests that there is not a major difference in pattern of use. Diazepam nasal spray demonstrated a similar safety and tolerability profile in patients with and without a history of seasonal allergies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2021.107898DOI Listing
May 2021

Overcoming the challenges of developing an intranasal diazepam rescue therapy for the treatment of seizure clusters.

Epilepsia 2021 04 22;62(4):846-856. Epub 2021 Feb 22.

Neurelis, San Diego, California, USA.

Seizure clusters must be treated quickly and effectively to prevent progression to prolonged seizures and status epilepticus. Rescue therapy for seizure clusters has focused on the use of benzodiazepines. Although intravenous benzodiazepine administration is the primary route in hospitals and emergency departments, seizure clusters typically occur in out-of-hospital settings, where a more portable product that can be easily administered by nonmedical caregivers is needed. Thus, other methods of administration have been examined, including rectal, intranasal, intramuscular, and buccal routes. Following US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in 1997, rectal diazepam became the mainstay of out-of-hospital treatment for seizure clusters in the United States. However, social acceptability and consistent bioavailability present limitations. Intranasal formulations have potential advantages for rescue therapies, including ease of administration and faster onset of action. A midazolam nasal spray was approved by the FDA in 2019 for patients aged 12 years or older. In early 2020, the FDA approved a diazepam nasal spray for patients aged 6 years or older, which has a different formulation than the midazolam nasal product and enhances aspects of bioavailability. Benzodiazepines, including diazepam, present significant challenges in developing a suitable intranasal formulation. Diazepam nasal spray contains dodecyl maltoside (DDM) as an absorption enhancer and vitamin E to increase solubility in an easy-to-use portable device. In a Phase 1 study, absolute bioavailability of the diazepam nasal spray was 97% compared with intravenous diazepam. Subsequently, the nasal spray demonstrated less variability in bioavailability than rectal gel (percentage of geometric coefficient of variation of area under the curve = 42%-66% for diazepam nasal spray compared with 87%-172% for rectal gel). The diazepam nasal spray safety profile is consistent with that expected for rectal diazepam, with low rates of nasal discomfort (≤6%). To further improve the efficacy of rescue therapy, investigation of novel intranasal benzodiazepine formulations is underway.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.16847DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8248041PMC
April 2021

Early impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on outpatient migraine care in Hawaii: Results of a quality improvement survey.

Headache 2021 01 14;61(1):149-156. Epub 2020 Dec 14.

Clinical Research Center, Brain Research, Innovation & Translation Labs, Hawaii Pacific Neuroscience, Honolulu, HI, USA.

Objective: A survey was implemented for early assessment of pandemic-related practice processes and quality improvement (QI).

Background: In response to the public health measures in Hawaii to curtail the coronavirus 2019 pandemic, Hawaii Pacific Neuroscience (HPN) adapted their patient care to ensure continuity of neurological treatment.

Methods: The telephone survey was conducted on patients seen at HPN during the period of April 22, 2020-May 18, 2020 to address four areas related to patients' outpatient experience: delivery of care, general well-being, experience with telemedicine, and disease-specific questions.

Results: A total of 928 patients were contacted of which 429 (46.2%) patients responded and 367 (85.5%) agreed to participate. A total of 133 patients with migraine and 234 patients with other neurological conditions provided responses. Our migraine patients' survey responses suggest that their well-being was disproportionately negatively affected by the pandemic. Survey respondents with migraine were significantly more likely than their non-migraine peers to report worsening anxiety and sleep problems [62/132 (47.0%) vs. 78/234 (33.3%), χ  = 6.64, p = 0.010, and 64/132 (48.5%) vs. 73/234 (31.2%), χ  = 10.77, p = 0.001]; migraine patients also reported worsening of depression as a result of the pandemic more than patients with other diagnoses, though this was not statistically significant [44/132 (33.3%) vs. 57/234 (24.4%), χ  = 3.40, p = 0.065]. In regard to access to healthcare, significantly more migraine patients reported running out of medications than those with other diagnoses [20/133 (15.0%) vs. 18/234 (7.7%), χ  = 4.93, p = 0.026]. More avoided seeking medical help for new health problems because of the pandemic [30/133 (22.6%) vs. 30/234 (12.8%), χ  = 5.88, p = 0.015]. Migraine patients were also significantly impacted economically by the pandemic; 43/132 (32.4%) of migraine patients reported losing their jobs as the result of the pandemic versus 34/234 (14.5%) of their peers (χ  = 11.20, p < 0.001). An increase in headache severity or frequency was reported in 39/118 (33.1%) of respondents and 19/118 (16.1%) reported to using more abortive therapy than usual. Telemedicine was well received by almost all patients who took advantage of the option. Most of those patients found telemedicine to be easy to use and as valuable as an in-person visit. Migraine patients indicated with more frequency that without the telemedicine option, they would have missed their medical appointments [37/68 (54.4%) vs. 56/144 (38.6%), χ  = 4.31, p = 0.038]; a majority would prefer or consider telemedicine for future appointments over in-person visits.

Conclusions: Insights gained from this QI survey to the practice's new pandemic-related processes include stressing lifestyle modification, optimizing treatment plans, and continuing the option of telemedicine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/head.14030DOI Listing
January 2021

Epilepsy in the time of COVID-19.

Acta Neurol Scand 2021 03 6;143(3):333-335. Epub 2020 Nov 6.

John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ane.13360DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7675556PMC
March 2021

Francisco de Goya and the Seizing Impenitent.

Eur Neurol 2020 16;83(3):330-332. Epub 2020 Jun 16.

Hawaii Pacific Neuroscience, Department of Family Medicine & Community Health, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA,

The painting, St. Francis and the Dying Impenitent (1788) by the Spanish Baroque painter, Francisco Goya, is discussed by the author within the context of epilepsy and biographical events in the lives of both the saint and the painter.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000508364DOI Listing
March 2021

Pharmacokinetics and safety of VALTOCO (NRL-1; diazepam nasal spray) in patients with epilepsy during seizure (ictal/peri-ictal) and nonseizure (interictal) conditions: A phase 1, open-label study.

Epilepsia 2020 05 27;61(5):935-943. Epub 2020 Apr 27.

Consultant for Neurelis, San Diego, California.

Objective: To assess pharmacokinetics and safety of diazepam nasal spray (NRL-1; VALTOCO®) in pediatric and adult patients with epilepsy in seizure and nonseizure states.

Methods: A single dose of diazepam nasal spray (5, 10, 15, or 20 mg based on weight) was administered during each of two conditions (ictal/peri-ictal and interictal condition) to patients 6-65 years old with partial or generalized epilepsy with motor seizures or seizures with clear alteration of awareness; a second dose was permitted if needed for persistent seizures. Dosing could be interictal or ictal/peri-ictal first, with a washout of ≥14 days. Blood samples for pharmacokinetic analysis were taken at prespecified time points. Treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs), sedation, nasal irritation, nasal mucosal pain, and olfactory changes were assessed.

Results: Of 57 patients in the study (mean age = 28.1 years [range = 6-59], 54.4% female, 80.7% white), 49 were included in the primary pharmacokinetic analyses. Diazepam pharmacokinetic profiles were similar under both conditions, with approximately 2-hour median time to mean (SD) maximum plasma concentrations of 164 (88) and 189 (110) ng/mL for ictal/peri-ictal and interictal conditions, respectively; drug exposure during the first 6 hours postdosing was 532 (313) and 615 (368) h•ng/mL, respectively. Seventeen patients (29.8%) reported TEAEs, of whom eight (14%) had treatment-related TEAEs, with those reported in ≥2 patients being dysgeusia (n = 3, 5.3%) and nasal discomfort (n = 2, 3.5%). One patient had serious TEAEs (recurrent seizures, metabolic encephalopathy), which were deemed unrelated to study treatment. No changes in respiratory rate were observed, nor were there clinically relevant changes in sedation, olfaction, nasal irritation, or acute nasal mucosal pain.

Significance: The epileptic conditions (ictal/peri-ictal, interictal) had minimal impact on diazepam nasal spray pharmacokinetics in patients with epilepsy. Therefore, diazepam nasal spray can be administered ictally and interictally. Diazepam nasal spray safety was consistent with the profile of diazepam.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.16506DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7383779PMC
May 2020

Bioavailability and safety of diazepam intranasal solution compared to oral and rectal diazepam in healthy volunteers.

Epilepsia 2020 03 17;61(3):455-464. Epub 2020 Feb 17.

Consultant for Neurelis, Miami, Florida.

Objective: The study assesses the bioavailability of diazepam after intranasal administration (diazepam nasal spray) in healthy volunteers. Comparative agents were diazepam rectal gel, which served as the regulatory reference product; and oral diazepam, a product with decades of clinical use. Tolerability of diazepam nasal spray was also assessed.

Methods: This was a phase 1, open-label, randomized, single-dose, three-treatment, three-period, six-sequence crossover study in 48 healthy adult subjects that consisted of a screening period, a baseline period, and an open-label treatment period. Interperiod intervals were at least 28 days.

Results: Forty-eight healthy volunteer subjects were enrolled, two of whom discontinued before receiving study medication. For all routes of administration, the onset of diazepam absorption was rapid, with measurable concentrations of drug present by the first sample time point. The t (time to reach maximum plasma concentration) was similar for diazepam nasal spray and diazepam rectal gel, both of which were slower than oral diazepam in fasted individuals. Variability (as defined by % coefficient of variation of geometric mean) in peak plasma concentration and area under the curve was lowest with oral diazepam, followed by diazepam nasal spray, with diazepam rectal gel showing the greatest variability. Overall, 131 treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) were considered mild (42 subjects, 91.3%), four TEAEs were considered moderate (four subjects, 8.3%), and no TEAEs were considered severe. The most commonly reported TEAE was somnolence at 56.5% (26/46) during diazepam nasal spray treatment, 89.1% (41/46) with the rectal diazepam gel treatment, and 82.6% (38/46) with oral diazepam treatment. No nasal irritation was observed for the majority of the subjects at any time point after administration, with no score higher than 2 ("minor bleeding that stops within 1 minute").

Significance: Diazepam nasal spray shows predicable pharmacokinetics and represents a potential novel therapeutic approach to control bouts of increased seizure activity (cluster seizures, acute repetitive seizures).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.16449DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7154760PMC
March 2020

Evaluation of Pharmacokinetics and Dose Proportionality of Diazepam After Intranasal Administration of NRL-1 to Healthy Volunteers.

Clin Pharmacol Drug Dev 2020 08 9;9(6):719-727. Epub 2020 Jan 9.

Neurelis, Inc, San Diego, California, USA.

NRL-1 is a novel intranasal formulation of diazepam that is being evaluated as rescue medication in patients with epilepsy who experience bouts of increased seizure activity despite stable regimens of antiepileptic drugs. This phase 1, open-label, randomized, crossover study in healthy adult volunteers consisted of 3 single-dose periods (5, 10, and 20 mg) followed by a 2-dose period (2 × 10 mg) with a minimum 28-day washout between treatments. Blood samples were taken at prespecified time points after intranasal dosing, and bioanalytic analysis of diazepam and nordiazepam was conducted using a validated liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method. Plasma pharmacokinetic parameters were summarized using descriptive statistics, and dose proportionality (peak concentration [C ] and area under the plasma concentration-time curve [AUC ]) was evaluated based on a power model within a 90%CI of 0.84 to 1.16. Comparisons were also conducted between single 10-mg dose and multidose (2 × 10 mg) treatments. NRL-1 administration resulted in rapid diazepam absorption (median time to peak concentration 1.4-1.5 hours). Plasma concentration-time profiles showed similar patterns of exposure that appeared to be dose dependent, with C of 85.6, 133.6, and 235.3 ng/mL for the 5-, 10-, and 20-mg doses, respectively, although the lower 90%CI for C and AUC exceeded dose proportionality criteria. The coefficient of variation ranged from 59% to 67% for C and 48% to 56% for AUC parameters. Dose-normalized AUC values were comparable between the 2 × 10-mg and single 10-mg doses. Treatment-emergent adverse events were consistent with those expected for diazepam, with transient somnolence the most frequent adverse event (94.4%). These results support NRL-1 as a potential therapy for managing seizure emergencies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cpdd.767DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7497078PMC
August 2020

Presentation of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures in Hawaii's ethnoracially diverse population.

Epilepsy Behav 2019 07 28;96:150-154. Epub 2019 May 28.

Epilepsy Research Unit, Hawaii Pacific Neuroscience, Honolulu, HI, USA; Comprehensive Epilepsy Center and Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU), Hawaii Pacific Neuroscience, Honolulu, HI, USA; John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, USA. Electronic address:

Purpose: This exploratory study compared the semiology of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) between a diverse group of patients in the state of Hawaii. This study may expand understanding of PNES across different ethnocultural and gender groups.

Methods: A retrospective chart review of patients admitted to our Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) over a 4-year period was performed to compare semiology in different ethnic groups and gender.

Results: A total of 139 patients were included in this study, 37% (n = 51) with PNES, 34% (n = 47) with epilepsy only, and 29% (n = 41) with other non-PNES, nonepilepsy diagnosis. The number of Asians with PNES were found to differ when compared with the patients with epilepsy and the patients with non-PNES, nonepilepsy diagnosis. A positive trend was found in the number of Native Hawaiians and Caucasians with PNES in comparison with patients with non-PNES, nonepilepsy diagnosis. In addition, three semiology of PNES in Native Hawaiians were found to differ in comparison with other ethnic groups with PNES: rhythmic motor, mixed semiology, and nonepileptic aura. There is a significant difference in all motor manifestation between males and females in Native Hawaiians. Between patients with PNES, patients with epilepsy, and patients with non-PNES, nonepilepsy diagnosis, significant correlation was found in psychiatric disorders including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and any psychiatric disorder.

Conclusion: This cross-cultural study found significant differences in the expression of PNES across key ethnoracial groups for the Islands of Hawaii. These findings have implications to the diagnosis and treatment of PNES for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders in the United States.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2019.04.024DOI Listing
July 2019

Safety, Tolerability, and Sensorimotor Effects of Extended-release Dalfampridine in Adults With Cerebral Palsy: A Pilot Study.

Clin Ther 2017 Feb 25;39(2):337-346. Epub 2017 Jan 25.

Acorda Therapeutics, Inc, Ardsley, New York.

Purpose: The goal of this study was to evaluate the safety and tolerability of dalfampridine extended release (D-ER) in a pilot study of adults with cerebral palsy (CP) and limited ambulatory ability, and to explore drug effects on sensorimotor function.

Methods: An initial double-blind, single-dose crossover study was performed in 11 individuals randomized 1:1 to receive D-ER (10 mg) or placebo, followed by a 2-day washout period and the opposite treatment, with evaluation for safety and tolerability. A twice daily dosing, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study was then performed. Participants were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to 1 of 2 sequences: 1 week of D-ER (10 mg BID) or placebo, followed by a 1-week washout and 1 week of the opposite treatment. Key inclusion criteria were age 18 to 70 years, body mass index 18.0 to 30.0 kg/m, diagnosis of CP, and ability to perform all study procedures. Key exclusion criteria were severe CP, moderate or severe renal impairment, history of nonfebrile seizures, and prior dalfampridine use. Primary outcomes were safety profile and tolerability. Exploratory functional outcomes comprised changes in upper and lower extremity sensorimotor function (grip and pinch strength tests), manual dexterity (Box and Block Tests), and walking speed (Timed 25-Foot Walk). The most pronounced measured functional deficit in each individual was defined as the exploratory primary functional end point. Full crossover data were analyzed by using a mixed effects model.

Findings: Among the 24 total participants who were randomized to treatment and completed the twice daily dosing phase study, their mean age was 38.6 years (range, 20-62 years), 54% were women, and 83% had spastic CP. Adverse events were consistent with previous D-ER trials, most commonly headache (13% D-ER, 4% placebo), fatigue (13% D-ER, 0% placebo), insomnia (8% D-ER, 4% placebo), diarrhea (4% D-ER, 4% placebo), and nausea (4% D-ER, 4% placebo). The mixed model analysis of full crossover data identified no significant difference between D-ER and placebo in the primary functional analysis (the most pronounced deficit; P = 0.70) or in the secondary analyses (hand strength [P = 0.48], manual dexterity [P = 0.13], or walking speed [P = 0.42]).

Implications: In this preliminary study of adults with CP, a BID dose of 10-mg D-ER was generally safe and well tolerated. The exploratory functional assessments for upper and lower sensorimotor deficits did not establish that the study population was markedly responsive to D-ER relative to placebo. These findings do not provide the proof-of-concept that would support further evaluation of D-ER as a potential intervention to improve function in adults with CP. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01468350.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinthera.2016.12.015DOI Listing
February 2017

Effects of Dalfampridine Extended-release Tablets on 6-minute Walk Distance in Patients With Multiple Sclerosis: A Post Hoc Analysis of a Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Trial.

Clin Ther 2015 Dec 10;37(12):2780-7. Epub 2015 Nov 10.

Acorda Therapeutics, Inc, Ardsley, New York.

Purpose: Dalfampridine extended-release (ER) tablets 10 mg BID have been approved for use in improving walking in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). This subgroup analysis evaluated the effects of dalfampridine ER 5 and 10 mg BID on distance walked, as assessed using the 6-minute walk (6MW) test.

Methods: This analysis of data from a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study (N = 430) included only the 153 patients with 6MW data available. Participants (aged 18-70 years) were randomly assigned in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive dalfampridine ER 5 or 10 mg or placebo, BID for 4 weeks. The 6MW was used for assessing walking distance at baseline and 2 weeks after the start of treatment at the 26 study sites that were able to perform this test. Participants were administered the 12-item MS Walking Scale (MSWS-12), a patient-reported measure of the impact of MS on walking. Post hoc outcomes included the percentages of patients who achieved an increase from baseline in 6MW distance of ≥20% and who achieved a minimal clinically important difference (MCID) from baseline in 6MW distance, defined as ≥+55 m. Changes from baseline in walking speed (MSWS-12) were compared, stratified by subgroup that achieved ≥20% versus <20% improvement on the 6MW. The correlation between change in walking speed over time and subgroup (by change in distance walked) was evaluated. The tolerability of dalfampridine was assessed based on the prevalence of treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs).

Findings: In the post hoc analysis, the percentage of patients with an improvement in 6MW distance that met or exceeded the MCID was significantly greater with dalfampridine ER 10 mg BID relative to placebo (37.3% vs 12.2%; nominal P = 0.004). Similarly, the percentage with an improvement in 6MW distance of ≥20% was significantly greater with dalfampridine 10 mg BID relative to placebo (45.1% vs 14.3%; nominal P < 0.001). Regardless of treatment allocation, improvement in MSWS-12 was significantly greater in the subgroup that achieved a ≥20% improvement on the 6MW compared with the subgroup with <20% improvement (mean changes, -15.5 vs -7.2; nominal P = 0.041). The prevalences and types of TEAEs were consistent with those reported in previous studies.

Implications: Based on the MCID for 6MW, the use of dalfampridine ER 10 mg BID but not 5 mg BID was associated with statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvements in walking relative to placebo. The correlation between improvement on MSWS-12 and the 20% increase in 6MW distance suggests that an improvement on MSWS-12 is clinically relevant. These results, although highlighting a lack of efficacy of dalfampridine ER 5 mg BID, suggest that the 10-mg BID dose is effective for improving walking speed, as observed on short timed-walk tests, and for increasing distance walked over longer timed-walk periods. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01328379.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinthera.2015.10.014DOI Listing
December 2015

Dalfampridine in chronic sensorimotor deficits after ischemic stroke: A proof of concept study.

J Rehabil Med 2015 11;47(10):924-31

Mount Sinai Medical Center, Department of Neurology, Box 1052, New York, NY 10029, USA.

Objective: To evaluate the safety and tolerability of dalfampridine extended release (D-ER) in participants with chronic post-ischemic stroke deficits, and to assess for potential drug activity on sensorimotor function.

Methods: Using a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over design, participants were randomized to placebo/D-ER or D-ER/placebo sequences and given D-ER 10 mg or placebo twice daily. Key inclusion criteria were: ischemic stroke ≥ 6 months, Fugl-Meyer Assessment lower extremity motor score ≤ 28, ability to complete Timed 25-Foot Walk (T25FW). The primary outcome was safety and tolerability. The key exploratory measure was walking speed (T25FW). Other assessments were: Box and Block, and Grip and Pinch tests; Functional Independence Measure. Full-crossover data were analyzed using mixed-effects model.

Results: A total of 83 participants were randomized: 70 completed and 13 discontinued the study. Adverse events were consistent with previous D-ER trials; no new safety signals were observed. Four participants experienced serious adverse events: 3 seizures (1 placebo, 2 D-ER), 1 was secondary to intentional overdose. Most common treatment-emergent adverse events were: dizziness, nausea, arthralgia and fatigue. Mixed-effects analysis showed an effect for D-ER vs. placebo in improving walking speed (0.21 vs. 0.10 ft/s; p = 0.027).

Conclusions: D-ER was generally well tolerated in participants with chronic stroke deficits. Potential drug activity on lower extremity sensorimotor function, with an improvement in walking speed, was seen.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2340/16501977-2033DOI Listing
November 2015

Evaluation of Dalfampridine Extended Release 5 and 10 mg in Multiple Sclerosis: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Int J MS Care 2015 May-Jun;17(3):138-45

PMG Research of Hickory, Hickory, NC, USA (RY); Fletcher Allen Health Care, Burlington, VT, USA (AA); Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research, The Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA (FB); Department of Neurology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA (MDG); Department of Neurology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA (GJH); Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR, USA (MM); Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation Multiple Sclerosis Center of Excellence, Oklahoma City, OK, USA (GP); and Acorda Therapeutics Inc, Ardsley, NY, USA (MK, HRH, ARB, EJC).

Background: Dalfampridine extended-release (ER) tablets, 10 mg twice daily, have been shown to improve walking in people with multiple sclerosis. We evaluated the safety and efficacy of dalfampridine-ER 5 mg compared with 10 mg.

Methods: Patients were randomized to double-blind treatment with twice-daily dalfampridine-ER tablets, 5 mg (n = 144) or 10 mg (n = 143), or placebo (n = 143) for 4 weeks. Primary efficacy endpoint was change from baseline walking speed by the Timed 25-Foot Walk 3 to 4 hours after the last dose. At 40% of sites, 2-week change from baseline walking distance was measured by the 6-Minute Walk test.

Results: At 4 weeks, walking speed changes from baseline were 0.363, 0.423, and 0.478 ft/s (placebo, dalfampridine-ER 5 mg, and dalfampridine-ER 10 mg, respectively [P = NS]). Post hoc analysis of average changes between pretreatment and on-treatment showed that relative to placebo, only dalfampridine-ER 10 mg demonstrated a significant increase in walking speed (mean ± SE): 0.443 ± 0.042 ft/s versus 0.303 ± 0.038 ft/s (P = .014). Improvement in 6-Minute Walk distance was significantly greater with dalfampridine-ER 10 mg (128.6 ft, P = .014) but not with 5 mg (76.8 ft, P = .308) relative to placebo (41.7 ft). Adverse events were consistent with previous studies. No seizures were reported.

Conclusions: Dalfampridine-ER 5 and 10 mg twice daily did not demonstrate efficacy on the planned endpoint. Post hoc analyses demonstrated significant increases in walking speed relative to placebo with dalfampridine-ER 10 mg. No new safety signals were observed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7224/1537-2073.2014-040DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4455866PMC
June 2015

Dosing feasibility and tolerability of intranasal diazepam in adults with epilepsy.

Epilepsia 2014 Oct 25;55(10):1544-50. Epub 2014 Aug 25.

Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Objective: To determine the feasibility of administering a diazepam nasal spray formulation (diazepam-NS) to adults with epilepsy during a generalized tonic-clonic seizure or in the postictal period following a tonic-clonic or other seizure type, to assess pharmacokinetics and to assess tolerability.

Methods: An open-label study was conducted in patients admitted to the epilepsy monitoring unit. Eligible patients received a single dose of diazepam-NS approximating 0.2 mg/kg. Plasma diazepam concentrations were measured serially up to 12 h postdose, and maximum observed plasma concentration (Cmax ); time to maximum concentration (Tmax ); and the area under the plasma concentration-time curve for time zero to last sampling time (AUC0-12 ) were estimated and dose-normalized. Pharmacodynamic assessments included Kaplan-Meier analysis to determine the time-to-next seizure. Safety and tolerability were assessed.

Results: Of the 78 patients who consented, 30 had treatment and pharmacokinetic data. Ten patients were treated during a convulsive tonic-clonic seizure, seven within 5 min following the last clonic jerk, and 13 in the postictal period ≥ 5 min after a tonic-clonic or following other seizure-types. Diazepam median Tmax was 45 min. Dose-normalized mean Cmax and AUC0-12 values of diazepam were comparable among patients regardless of the timing of diazepam-NS administration in relation to seizure. Of those treated, 65% were seizure-free during the 12-h observation period and 35% had post-dose seizures. Treatment was well tolerated, with no unexpected safety findings: 74% had mild and 25% had moderate adverse events. Nasopharyngeal signs were resolved by 12 h postdose.

Significance: Diazepam can be delivered in effective therapeutic concentrations by a nasal spray device during the convulsive phase of tonic-clonic seizures or in the postictal periods following tonic-clonic or other seizure types.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.12755DOI Listing
October 2014

Assessment of pharmacokinetics and tolerability of intranasal diazepam relative to rectal gel in healthy adults.

Epilepsy Res 2014 Sep 13;108(7):1204-11. Epub 2014 May 13.

Acorda Therapeutics, Inc., 420 Saw Mill River Road, Ardsley, NY 10502, USA.

Diazepam rectal gel (RG) is currently the only approved rescue therapy for outpatient management of seizure clusters in the United States. There is an unmet medical need for an alternative rescue therapy for seizure clusters that is effective, and more convenient to administer with a socially acceptable method of delivery. An intranasal diazepam formulation has been developed, and this study evaluates the tolerability and bioavailability of diazepam nasal spray (NS) relative to an equivalent dose of diazepam-RG in healthy adults. Twenty-four healthy adults were enrolled in a phase 1, open-label, 3-period crossover study. Plasma diazepam and metabolite concentrations were measured by serial sampling. Dose proportionality for 5- and 20-mg intranasal doses and the bioavailability of 20mg diazepam-NS relative to 20mg diazepam-RG were assessed by maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) and systemic exposure parameters (AUC0-∞ and AUC0-24). The mean Cmax values for 20mg diazepam-NS and 20mg diazepam-RG were 378 ± 106 and 328 ± 152 ng/mL, achieved at 1.0 and 1.5h, respectively. Subjects administered intranasal and rectal gel formulations experienced nasal and rectal leakage, respectively. Diazepam absorption following intranasal administration was consistent but 3 subjects with diazepam-RG had low plasma drug levels at the earliest assessment of 5 min, due to poor retention, and were excluded from analysis. Excluding them, the treatment ratios (20mg diazepam-NS:20mg diazepam-RG) and 90% confidence intervals for diazepam Cmax and AUC0-24 were 0.98 (0.85-1.14) and 0.89 (0.80-0.98), respectively, suggesting that the bioavailability was comparable between the two formulations. Dose proportionality was observed between the lowest and highest dose-strengths of intranasal formulation. Both intranasal and rectal treatments were well tolerated with mild to moderate adverse events. Results suggest that a single-dose of 20mg diazepam-NS is tolerable and comparable in bioavailability to that of diazepam-RG. The intranasal formulation may provide caregivers and patients with a more socially acceptable and convenient alternative rescue therapy in the acute treatment of seizure clusters.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2014.04.007DOI Listing
September 2014

Nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy presenting as excessive daytime sleepiness.

J Family Med Prim Care 2013 Jan;2(1):101-3

Department of Neurology, University of Miami, USA.

Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is common in the general population. Etiologies include insufficient sleep and primary sleep disorders. Due to its high prevalence, physicians often overlook EDS as a significant problem. However, EDS may also be the presenting symptom of seizures, in particular Nocturnal Frontal Lobe Epilepsy (NFLE). Due to the clinical similarity between the nocturnal behaviors of NFLE and parasomnias, and poor patient-related history, NFLE remains a challenging diagnosis. We report the case of a patient with NFLE who presented with a primary complaint of EDS, and discuss the differential diagnosis and evaluation of patients with EDS associated with nocturnal behaviors. In the context of a patient presenting with EDS and stereotyped nocturnal events, clinical suspicion should be high for NFLE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/2249-4863.109969DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3894023PMC
January 2013

Late-onset, praxis-induced myoclonic epilepsy.

Epileptic Disord 2012 Jun;14(2):167-71

Department of Neurology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA.

Praxis-induction of seizures is an interesting subset of reflex epilepsy in which seizures are induced by higher mental activities associated with the use of part of the body. Reflex traits have often been described in patients with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. We report a patient presenting with praxis-induced myoclonic epilepsy at a late age. Ictal myoclonus was triggered by building a bird house and captured by video-polygraphic EEG recording. At 39 years old, the patient's age at onset of epilepsy was consistent with the syndrome of adult myoclonic epilepsy. Our case supports the notion of adult myoclonic epilepsy with possible occurrence of praxis-activation of seizures, as has been noted with the other idiopathic generalised epilepsies. [Published with videosequences].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1684/epd.2012.0498DOI Listing
June 2012
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