Dravet syndrome is a rare and severe type of epilepsy that begins in infancy or early childhood. Symptoms can include frequent, prolonged, difficult to treat seizures, developmental and motor impairments, and an increased risk of sudden death. Dravet syndrome (pronounced “dra-vay”) affects approximately one in 15,700 infants born in the U.S. In at least 80 percent of cases, Dravet syndrome is caused by defects in a gene required for the proper function of brain cells. While Dravet syndrome can be inherited, most people with Dravet syndrome do not have a family history of the condition.
The first sign of Dravet syndrome is usually a convulsive seizure that is triggered by a fever, typically around 5 to 8 months of age. Children with Dravet syndrome can have other types of seizures in the weeks or months after the first event. The seizures tend to be long and difficult to control with medication. They may be triggered by infections, changes in body temperature, flashing lights or other visual stimuli, and emotional stress or excitement.
November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month, a time to highlight Dravet syndrome and the treatment options available to help patients and their families.
In a clinical study, FINTEPLA reduced monthly seizures by 79% on average, compared with 16% reduction for patients taking placebo. Patients added FINTEPLA (0.7 mg/kg/day) or placebo to their current antiseizure treatment plans. FINTEPLA is only available through the FINTEPLA Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) Program due to the increased risk of problems with the valves in the heart and high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs associated with fenfluramine – the active ingredient in FINTEPLA.