Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Epilepsy Health Center

Font Size

FDA OKs New Epilepsy Drug

Potiga Approved as an Add-On Drug to Treat Partial Seizures Caused by Epilepsy
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

June 13, 2011 -- Adults with epilepsy will soon have a new drug to help control seizures as part of their overall epilepsy treatment.

The FDA has approved the drug Potiga (ezogabine) as an add-on drug to treat partial seizures caused by epilepsy. Partial seizures affect only a limited area of the brain but can spread to other parts of the brain and cause a variety of symptoms, including spasms, unusual behavior, convulsions, and loss of consciousness.

It's the first drug in a new class of seizure medications design for epilepsy treatment known as neuronal potassium channel blockers. Although the exact mechanism of these drugs is not clear, they are believed to control seizures by stabilizing potassium channels in the brain affected by epilepsy.

“About one-third of people with epilepsy do not achieve satisfactory seizure control from treatments they are currently using,” says Russell Katz, MD, director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a news release. “It is important to have a variety of treatment options available for patients with epilepsy.”

Potiga Approved to Treat Epilepsy

The FDA's approval was based on the results of three clinical trials involving more than 1,000 adults. These studies showed Potiga reduced seizure frequency by about 30%-40% in those who responded to the drug.

The most common side effects caused by Potiga in clinical trials included dizziness, fatigue, confusion, tremor, problems with coordination, double vision, problems paying attention, memory problems, and lack of strength.

In addition, Potiga can cause problems emptying the bladder, a problem known as urinary retention that is common among seizure medications.

Overall, 25% of people receiving Potiga in clinical trials discontinued treatment due to negative side effects compared with 11% of those who received the placebo.

As with other seizure medications and epilepsy treatments, the FDA warns that Potiga may cause psychological symptoms, such as confusion, hallucinations, and suicidal thoughts in a small number of people. People who experience these symptoms should contact their health care provider immediately.

Potiga is expected to become available in U.S. pharmacies as a controlled substance by the end of 2011. The drug was developed by Valeant Pharmaceuticals North America of Durham, N.C., and will be distributed by GlaxoSmithKline of Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Potiga is known as Trobalt (retigabine) outside the U.S. and was approved for use by the European Union in March.

Today on WebMD

human head and brain waves
Causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Grand mal seizure
How is each one different?
marijuana plant
CBD, a plant chemical, may cut down seizures.
prescription bottle
Which medication is right for you?
Seizures Driving
Questions for Doctor Epilepsy
Graces Magic Diet
Pills spilling from bottle in front of clock
first aid kit
Caring Child Epilepsy
Making Home Safe
epilepsy monitoring