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Br J Pharmacol. 2008 Aug;154(8):1555-7. doi: 10.1038/bjp.2008.221. Epub 2008 Jun 16.

Brivaracetam: a rational drug discovery success story.

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1
Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA. rogawski@ucdavis.edu

Abstract

Levetiracetam, the alpha-ethyl analogue of the nootropic piracetam, is a widely used antiepileptic drug (AED) that provides protection against partial seizures and is also effective in the treatment of primary generalized seizure syndromes including juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. Levetiracetam was discovered in 1992 through screening in audiogenic seizure susceptible mice and, 3 years later, was reported to exhibit saturable, stereospecific binding in brain to a approximately 90 kDa protein, later identified as the ubiquitous synaptic vesicle glycoprotein SV2A. A large-scale screening effort to optimize binding affinity identified the 4-n-propyl analogue, brivaracetam, as having greater potency and a broadened spectrum of activity in animal seizure models. Recent phase II clinical trials demonstrating that brivaracetam is efficacious and well tolerated in the treatment of partial onset seizures have validated the strategy of the discovery programme. Brivaracetam is among the first clinically effective AEDs to be discovered by optimization of pharmacodynamic activity at a molecular target.

PMID:
18552880
PMCID:
PMC2518467
DOI:
10.1038/bjp.2008.221
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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