Novel study design to assess the efficacy and tolerability of antiseizure medications for focal-onset seizures in infants and young children: A consensus document from the regulatory task force and the pediatric commission of the International League against Epilepsy (ILAE), in collaboration with the Pediatric Epilepsy Research Consortium (PERC).Epilepsia Open 2019; 4(4):537-543EO
High-quality placebo-controlled drug trials for focal-onset seizures in infants and children younger than 4 years have become increasingly difficult to perform because of eligibility constraints and onerous study designs. Traditional designs used in these populations require a high baseline seizure frequency, two hospitalizations for video-electroencephalography (video-EEG) monitoring, and willingness to accept potential exposure to placebo when the drugs to be tested are usually already available for off-label prescription. To address these constraints, the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) regulatory taskforce and the ILAE pediatric commission, in collaboration with the Pediatric Epilepsy Research Consortium (PERC), propose a novel trial design which involves seizure counting by caregivers based on previous video-EEG/video validation of specific seizure semiologies. We present a novel randomized placebo-controlled trial design intended to be used for studying new antiseizure medications (ASMs) for focal-onset seizures (FOS) in children aged one month to four years. This design uses "time to Nth seizure" as the primary outcome and incorporates a new element of variable baseline duration. This approach permits enrollment of infants with lower seizure burden, who might not have video-EEG-recorded seizures within 2-3 days of monitoring. Repeated hospitalizations for video-EEG recordings are avoided, and duration of baseline and exposure to placebo or ineffective treatment(s) are minimized. By broadening eligibility criteria, reducing risks from prolonged placebo exposure, and relying on validated recording of seizure counting by caregivers, clinical trials will be likely to be completed more efficiently than in the recent past.