(Schoonjans, 2016). Fenfluramine, a weight-loss medication that has been shown to affect serotonin levels and decrease seizures in a small group of patients with Dravet syndrome in Europe, is currently in US clinical trials. In this study, nine European patients enrolled in a prospective open label clinical study on fenfluramine. “Prospective” refers to the fact that this was not a review of old charts, but rather an active study that had a definite start date and moved forward. Open label refers to the fact that the patients and their doctors were aware of the drug being administered: there was no blinding or secrecy involved. The patients had a median frequency of 15 motor seizures per month in the 3-month baseline period before treatment began. After treatment with fenfluramine, 7/9 patients experienced a more than 50% reduction in motor seizures. All patients had some reduction in seizure frequency during treatment. Although roughly half of the patients reported decreased appetite and/or sleepiness, no cardiac valvulopathy or pulmonary hypertension was observed.

Schoonjans, A.S., et. al.  (2016). Low-dose fenfluramine significantly reduces seizure frequency in Dravet syndrome: a prospective study of a new cohort of patients. European Journal of Neurology, Oct 28. DOI: 10.1111/ene.13195.