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Anti-seizure medication shows promise in ALS

JAMA Neurology
Reuters Health - 24/11/2020 - The antiepileptic ezogabine (also known as retigabine) decreases pathological motor-neuron hyperexcitability in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), new research shows. "The study showed that ezogabine can reduce neurophysiological features of the disease," lead researcher Dr. Brain Wainger of the Healey Center for ALS at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston, told Reuters Health by email. Ezogabine, a potassium-channel agonist, calms the excitability of nerve cells that cause seizures. Similar hyperexcitability in motor neurons may play a role in ALS. Dr. Wainger and colleagues used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and threshold-tracking nerve-conduction studies to gauge the effects of ezogabine on upper and lower motor neuron excitability in 65 people with ALS. Participants in this phase-2 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial received 600 or 900 mg ezogabine daily or matching placeb...

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