What is Vimpat Uses, warnings & interactions
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Vimpat (lacosamide) is an antiepileptic drug (AED) that is manufactured by UCB, Inc. It was approved in 2008 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of partial-onset seizures. It is also used in combination with other medications to treat grand mal seizures. It works by stabilizing the electrical activity in your brain to reduce the number and severity of seizures.
If your doctor has prescribed Vimpat to you, you may want to know more about what it is and how it works. Here we’ll explain what Vimpat is used for, how it works, its side effects, and more.
What is Vimpat used for?
Vimpat (lacosamide) is an anticonvulsant medication that is FDA-approved as:
- Monotherapy for the treatment of partial-onset seizures (focal seizures) in patients aged 1 month and older
- Adjunctive therapy in the treatment of primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures (PGTC) in patients 4 years of age and older
Vimpat is not safe and effective for partial-onset seizures in children under 1 month of age or for (PGTC) in children under 4 years of age.
How does Vimpat work?
The exact mechanism of action of Vimpat is not known. It is thought that Vimpat slowly inactivates sodium channels in the brain, which stabilizes the neurons and keeps them from firing repeatedly. It only affects neurons that are active for long periods of time. These neurons are thought to be a cause of epilepsy.
What are the most commonly prescribed doses of Vimpat?
- 50mg tablet
- 100mg tablet
- 150mg tablet
- 200mg tablet
- 10mg/ml oral solution
- 200mg/20ml single-dose vial for intravenous use
Before taking Vimpat
Before beginning Vimpat treatment, tell your doctor if you have any of the following medical conditions:
- History of depression, mood disorders, or suicidal thoughts and behaviors
- Heart problems such as heart failure, AV block, or irregular heartbeat
- Kidney problems
- Liver problems
- History of substance abuse
How to take Vimpat
- Read the Full Prescribing Information, Patient Information, Instructions for Use, and Medication Guide that comes with this medication.
- Take Vimpat exactly as your doctor prescribes it to you. Do not change your dose or stop taking Vimpat without discussing it with them first. Suddenly stopping this medication can cause prolonged seizures (status epilepticus).
- Vimpat tablets and oral solution are typically taken twice daily with or without food. You should swallow Vimpat tablets whole. Do not chew, cut, or crush Vimpat tablets. If you are taking Vimpat oral solution, use a medicine dropper or medicine cup to measure the correct dose. Do not use a teaspoon as it will not be accurate.
- If you miss a dose of Vimpat, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take extra doses to make up for a missed dose.
Currently, there are no contraindications associated with Vimpat.
- Doctors, parents, and caregivers should monitor patients on Vimpat for suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
- You should have an ECG performed before starting Vimpat and after you have been titrated up to your maintenance dose if you have arrhythmias or are on other medications that affect your heart rhythm.
- Vimpat may cause you to faint. Use with caution.
- You should be slowly taken off of this medication to minimize the risk of increased seizure activity.
- Drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS), or multi-organ hypersensitivity, has been reported in patients taking Vimpat.
- Vimpat oral solution may contain phenylalanine and aspartame. Tell your doctor if you have phenylketonuria (PKU).
Vimpat drug interactions
When Vimpat is taken with other medications, it may change the way they work or increase the frequency and severity of side effects. Discuss with your doctor whether any of the prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements you take may interact with this medication, including:
- Strong inhibitors of CYP3A4 (diltiazem, ketoconazole) and CYP2C9 (amiodarone). You may need a dose reduction if you have kidney or liver impairment.
- Medications that affect cardiac conduction such as beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers.
Vimpat side effects
The most common side effects of Vimpat in clinical trials compared to placebo include:
- Double vision
- Blurred vision
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Excessive drowsiness or tiredness
- Ataxia (impaired coordination)
- Dry mouth
Sometimes, Vimpat can cause more serious side effects, including:
- Severe allergic reaction (hives, angioedema, and shortness of breath)
- Increased incidence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors
- Chest pain
- Heart problems such as atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter
- Worsening kidney or liver function
Contact your doctor for medical advice about any adverse effects you experience while taking Vimpat. You can report your side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Your healthcare professional can prescribe other seizure medications if Vimpat is not right for you. These medications will vary by different factors such as side effects and costs. Some FDA-approved alternatives to Vimpat include:
- Aptiom (eslicarbazepine)
- Banzel (rufinamide)
- Trokendi XR (topiramate)
- Tegretol XR (carbamazepine)
- Lamictal XR (lamotrigine)
- Trileptal (oxcarbazepine)
- Dilantin (phenytoin)
Can you take Vimpat while you are pregnant or breastfeeding?
Based on animal data, Vimpat may cause fetal harm. There is a pregnancy exposure registry that monitors outcomes in women exposed to AEDs during pregnancy. You can enroll in the North American Antiepileptic Drug (NAAED) pregnancy registry online or by calling 1-888-233-2334.
Vimpat is known to be present in breast milk. There are reports of increased sleepiness in breastfed infants exposed to Vimpat. You should always discuss the risks and benefits of any medication with your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
How long does it take Vimpat to work?
It can take 2 to 3 weeks of Vimpat treatment to see its full effects.
Is Vimpat considered a controlled substance?
Yes, Vimpat is a schedule 5 controlled substance (C-V). It has the potential to be abused or lead to drug dependence. You should keep this medication in a safe, secure place and never share it with anyone else.
What type of drug is Vimpat?
Vimpat is in a class of drugs called antiepileptics or anticonvulsants. It treats certain types of seizures by decreasing abnormal electrical activity in your brain.
How should I store Vimpat?
You should store Vimpat at room temperature between 68ºF to 77ºF (20ºC to 25ºC). Discard any unused Vimpat oral solution 6 months after opening the bottle.
Is there a generic for Vimpat?
Currently, there is no generic Vimpat available on the market. However, you can still save on brand-name drugs like Vimpat through the NiceRx if eligible for assistance.