Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that GlaxoSmithKline's Lamictal (lamotrigine) and generic lamotrigine will continue to dominate the epilepsy drug market through 2017, aided in part by the launch of an extended-release formulation of Lamictal in the United States. Lamotrigine is the current market leader in epilepsy, owing to its use as a preferred first-line adjunctive therapy, its increasing use as a first-line monotherapy and its premium price.

The new Pharmacor report entitled Epilepsy finds that, despite the launch of five new antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) and three reformulations of current AEDs between 2007 and 2012, the epilepsy drug market will grow by only 1.4 percent annually over the next five years. Thereafter, annual market growth will remain flat through 2017, due to the combination of extensive generic erosion of branded drugs and of enduring branded AED use in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan.

Emerging AEDs, particularly UCB's Vimpat and Rikelta and Ortho-McNeil Neurologics' carisbamate, will offer new therapeutic options as adjunctive agents. However, these drugs will be used in later lines of treatment and will face competition from established AEDs, resulting in moderate uptake and only modest sales. The report finds that uptake of generic AEDs will continue to be slow in all markets, as it has been in the past, because physicians' concerns about bioavailability leads to limited switching to generics. Although most AEDs, including many emerging therapies, will face generic competition by 2017, the continued use of branded agents will help to offset generic erosion.

"Older AEDs will remain the mainstay of epilepsy treatment through 2017 because of their low cost, their efficacy and physician familiarity with these drugs," said Bethany Kiernan, Ph.D. "Nevertheless, interviewed experts stress the importance of having numerous AEDs with which to treat patients because epilepsy treatment is highly patient-specific. Additionally, patients whose seizures are well controlled on a given AED or a combination of AEDs will remain on their regimen over the long-term. This situation has permitted the sustained use of many AEDs and led to a crowded market."

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