IU, Cerrahpasa School of Medicine, Department of Neurology, Istanbul, Turkey
Barbexaclone is a salt compound of phenobarbital and propylhexedrine (a drug with indirect sympathomimetic properties). Due to the presence of the psychostimulating agent, propylhexedrine, this drug has less of a sedative effect and is well tolerated, compared to phenobarbital. Barbexaclone was widely used in Turkey until 2009 when its production ended, however, it gave rise to an epidemic for which we were not prepared. Since then, no standardised management protocol has been developed and each patient has been evaluated individually, thereby creating tailor-made solutions based on the extent of each patient's supply of remaining drug (from a few tablets to a stock which might last for six months).
The rate of seizure freedom was 37.7% under barbexaclone treatment and dropped to 32.2% in the follow-up period after discontinuation of the drug. In the majority of cases, a new antiepileptic drug was added and this was commonly levetiracetam, a more expensive drug. In this article, we share our experiences of a general problem: the withdrawal of an antiepileptic drug from the market. Although there was prior notification regarding barbexaclone withdrawal, it was not possible to contact all patients since such a database is not available in Turkey. Although no conclusions regarding the efficacy of the drug or comparison of efficacy with other antiepileptic drugs is provided, it is nonetheless noteworthy to share these experiences since some patients had lost seizure control for reasons that could not be explained.