Over the past 20 years, a number of new drugs have become available for the treatment of epilepsy. These new drugs have been approved for NHS use on the basis of information from short term trials. These trials do not provide information about the longer term outcomes which inform decisions made by doctors and patients, nor do they provide any useful health economic data.
A clinical trial called SANAD-I began in 1999 and compared the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of standard and new treatments that were available at that time. SANAD-I identified lamotrigine (a new drug) as an effective and cost-effective first-line treatment for patients with a focal epilepsy, and confirmed that valproate (a standard treatment) should remain a first-line drug for patients with a generalised epilepsy or seizures that clinicians find difficult to classify. Since SANAD-I, a number of newer treatments have become available, the most promising of which are levetiracetam and zonisamide.
SANADII will compare the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the drugs named above and examine quality of life in patients with newly diagnosed epilepsy (trial protocol).