Assessment of new antiseizure drug by Ontario’s public drug program

October 7, 2016

The provincial Ministry of Health and Long-term Care has requested input from people living with epilepsy, or their family caregivers, for an upcoming assessment of Brivlera™ (brivaracetam).

Brivlera is a new medication that was approved by Health Canada in May 2016 as an add-on anti-seizure drug to treat focal onset seizures in people aged 18 and older who have not achieved satisfactory seizure control with other therapies.

Who can participate?

Adults, aged 18 or older, who have had experience living with uncontrolled focal onset seizures (or partial onset seizures) can participate. Some of the names for focal onset seizures include an aura, simple partial seizure, complex partial seizure, temporal lobe seizure, or focal dyscognitive seizure. See the FAQ section below for more information and other terms that are used to describe these types of seizures.

You can participate if your seizures are not fully controlled at the present time or if you are seizure-free.

Adult family members with a caregiving role for a person with uncontrolled focal onset (or partial onset) seizures, either now or in the past, can also participate.

How can I share my input?

You can share your input by contact Epilepsy Ottawa by phone (613-594-9255) or email to let us know you’re interested in participating. We will follow up with you on October 19-21 to conduct a survey. We will compile the information we receive and make a submission on behalf of people with epilepsy and their family members. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care does not accept submissions from individuals. People are asked to share their input with a patient advocacy group to ensure that perspectives from many patients and caregivers are captured collectively.

What is a drug review or health technology assessment?

The following 5 1/2 min video created by CTAC (formerly known as the Canadian Treatment Action Council) provides an overview of how drugs are approved and become available for Canadian patients.

Cick here to watch the video on YouTube.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why is the provincial government asking for input from patients?
An expert committee, established by the province to review medications, will assess input from patients along with clinical trial data and an economic evaluation of the drug. Input from people with epilepsy and their family members is an integral part of the review process.

The committee’s recommendation will be used by the Executive Officer of Ontario’s public drug programs to decide if Brivlera (brivaracetam) should be added to the list of medications covered by the province’s drug plans.

What is Brivlera?
Brivlera is the trade name for a new anti-seizure drug called brivaracetam. This medication was approved by Health Canada in May 2016.

Brivlera has been approved as an add-on anti-seizure drug to treat focal onset (partial onset) seizures in people aged 18 and older who have not achieved satisfactory seizure control with other therapies.

What are focal onset seizures?
Focal onset seizures are also called partial onset seizures.
Focal onset seizures begin in a network within one hemisphere of the brain. There is a site, or a focus, where the seizures originate.
An individual may be fully aware during a focal seizure or they may experience a loss of awareness. Common names for these seizures include aura, simple partial seizure, complex partial seizure, psychomotor seizure, or focal dyscognitive seizure. Some focal onset seizures will evolve to a bilateral convulsive (tonic-clonic or grand mal) seizure.
Healthcare providers may also use terms that refer to the specific brain region where focal seizures begin, for example limbic system seizure, temporal lobe seizure, frontal lobe seizure, parietal lobe seizure, occipital lobe seizure, or insular seizure.

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