Not all that glitters is gold: A guide to critical appraisal of animal drug trials in epilepsy

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12 Scopus citations


Preclinical studies have produced numerous drugs with antiseizure properties that currently are the standard of care. One third of the human population with epilepsy still continues to have seizures despite the ongoing discoveries. The recognized clinical gaps of care that need to be addressed are the identification of antiepileptogenic and disease-modifying treatments, and treatments for refractory seizures or for seizures and epilepsies with limited or unsatisfactory treatments, such as early life epileptic encephalopathies. In this invited review, we provide a historical summary of the international efforts to reevaluate the strategies adopted in preclinical epilepsy therapy discovery studies. We discuss issues that may affect the quality, interpretation, and validation of preclinical studies and their translation to successful therapies for humans affected with epilepsy. These include the selection of animal models and the study design; research practices that affect rigor (such as appropriate use of statistics and reporting of study methods and results, their validation across models, labs, and preclinical-clinical studies); the need to harmonize research methods and outcome assessment; and the importance of improving translation to clinically appropriate situations. The epilepsy research community is incrementally adopting collaborative research, including consortia or multicenter studies to meet these needs. Improving the infrastructure that can support these efforts will be instrumental in future success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-101
Number of pages16
JournalEpilepsia Open
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 2016


  • Animal model
  • Antiepileptogenesis
  • Antiseizure
  • Drug resistance
  • Efficacy endpoint
  • Preclinical trial
  • Seizure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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