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TREATING EPILEPSY

 

Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder marked by repeated attacks caused by uncontrolled electrical discharges that origin in the cerebral cortex and typically cause abrupt alterations of the state of conscience, loss of muscle tone, involuntary muscle contraction or convulsions.

The etiology of epilepsy is not fully known, but in some cases it is concurrent with perinatal brain lesions, concussions, tumors, strokes, drug abuse, or infections.

The diagnosis of epilepsy is usually clinical, though patients can undergo a neurological examination with the support of an electroencephalogram.

There are several drugs used for the treatment of epilepsy that are classified according to their mechanism of action. Among the most effective treatments, there is one that is marketed under the name Keppra that acts at neuronal level and effects the release of calcium ions stabilizing electrical activity, helping in preventing attacks.

As with all anti-epileptic drugs, the serum blood levels of the molecule in patients undergoing treatment must be carefully monitored to avoid potential toxicity. The most accurate and dependable way of measuring the levels for this type of medication is Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS). This technique has the advantage of combining in a single instrument the separation of the single substances present in the sample by means of the High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and the quantification of the drug thanks to the Mass Spectrometry (MS), thus avoiding off-line analyte treatment processes and consequently reducing performance time.

At the Dr. Giovanni Di Piazza Medical Testing Laboratory in Palermo we test serum blood levels for this molecule. The tests will be carried out at the laboratories of the CQRC, Centro di Spettrometria di Massa U.O.C. 90.10, Hematology and Rare Disease Department, Via del Vespro 133, 90127 Palermo, which is part of the Azienda Ospedaliera Ospedali Riuniti Villa Sofia – Cervello in association with the Università degli Studi of Palermo.