However, Surveyed Neurologists Are Only Moderately Satisfied With Keppra’s Accessibility, According to Findings from Decision Resources
BURLINGTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Decision Resources, one of the world’s leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that, for the treatment of epilepsy, the highest percentage of surveyed neurologists (73 percent) as well as managed care organizations’ (MCOs) pharmacy directors (29 percent) identified levetiracetam immediate release (IR; UCB’s Keppra, generics) as the therapy with the best overall clinical profile when compared to other currently available antiepileptic drugs (AEDs).
The findings from Decision Resources reveal that most surveyed neurologists and payers also consider levetiracetam IR to be the most efficacious, safest and best tolerated and most conveniently delivered AED. Interviewed experts agree that levetiracetam IR offers the best balance of efficacy and safety when compared with its competitors.
“Our physician survey results reveal a clear demarcation between levetiracetam IR and other current AEDs included in our survey, with an overwhelmingly larger number of surveyed physicians choosing levetiracetam IR over other current AEDs on all categories assessed,” said Decision Resources Analyst Nadja Rozovsky, Ph.D. “This positive perception is in agreement with the opinions of interviewed specialists, who often highlight levetiracetam IR’s superiority over other AEDs, particularly on safety and tolerability attributes.”
Despite the success of levetiracetam IR and other current AEDs in controlling seizures, approximately one-third of patients do not achieve adequate seizure control—as a result, these patients often receive combination therapy. Surveyed neurologists indicate that a significant opportunity exists for an adjunctive AED that offers greater efficacy over levetiracetam IR, although surveyed physicians will not compromise on safety and tolerability.
Although levetiracetam IR was chosen by most surveyed neurologists as having the best overall clinical profile, neurologists are only moderately satisfied with its accessibility. The physicians who chose levetiracetam IR as having the best overall clinical profile indicated only neutral satisfaction with out-of-pocket costs, cost controls and the overall cost of the drug. Physicians’ relatively moderate level of satisfaction is particularly noteworthy because the drug has been available generically since 2008 in the United States and consequently enjoys favorable standing in commercial health plans.
However, physicians’ relatively low satisfaction with levetiracetam IR’s accessibility may be influenced by their experience with Medicare, which includes plans that position the drug in tier 2 and may apply cost controls. Additionally, surveyed physicians’ mild dissatisfaction with the accessibility of levetiracetam IR may stem from the less favorable position of the branded AED compared with its generic counterpart—neurologists treating epilepsy at times opt for brand-prescribing in an attempt to prevent breakthrough seizures that may result from switching a patient from a branded AED to a generic.
The findings also reveal that, owing primarily to the generic erosion of key agents—specifically within the second-generation AED drug class—the epilepsy drug market will remain relatively flat over the next decade, increasing from $2.8 billion in 2009 to approximately $2.9 billion in 2019 in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and Japan. Levetiracetam IR is the current market leader in epilepsy, followed by lamotrigine IR (GlaxoSmithKline/Juste’s Lamictal/Labileno/Elmendos/Crisomet, generics). Increasing sales of levetiracetam IR in recent years are a direct result of its preferred use as a first-line adjunctive therapy and increasingly as monotherapy and the agent is expected to continue to lead the epilepsy drug market in 2019 with major-market sales of approximately $500 million.
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Christopher Comfort, 781-993-2597
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