Dr. Paul Lyons discusses Epilepsy & treatment options
20 August 2020
We pre-recorded today’s conversation via Zoom with neurologist and epileptologist, Dr. Paul Lyons. Dr. Lyons is the medical director of the Virginia Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at Winchester Medical Center, an NAEC Level 4 epilepsy center. [The National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) accredits epilepsy centers and recognizes four levels of care. Level 4 centers are the highest level centers, offering the most “complex forms of intensive neurodiagnostic monitoring, as well as more extensive medical, neuropsychological, and psychosocial treatment. Level 4 centers also offer a complete evaluation for epilepsy surgery, including intracranial electrodes and a broad range of surgical procedures for epilepsy.”]
The Virginia Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at Winchester Medical Center is an NAEC Level 4 adult and pediatric epilepsy center. It is one of only three centers in Virginia to offer level 4 epilepsy care for both children and adults. The program is a collaboration between Winchester Medical Center and two Winchester-based physician practices, Winchester Neurological Consultants (neurology practice) and Virginia Brain and Spine Center | Valley Health (neurosurgery practice). The founders of the program, epileptologist Paul Lyons, MD (Winchester Neurological Consultants) and neurosurgeon Lee Selznick, MD (Virginia Brain and Spine Center | Valley Health) envisioned integrated services for the treatment of epilepsy and pursued a cohesive, comprehensive program for our region.
Dr. Lyons defined Epilepsy, explained the role seizures play in diagnosis and talked about how an FDA approved pharmaceutical grade cannabinoid extract called Epidiolex is changing how several severe seizure disorders are being treated, and the dramatic impact it is having on patients’ lives locally.
Beginning in 2015, Dr. Lyons, The Virginia Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at Winchester Medical Center and the Valley Health Clinical Research department were involved in a series of clinical research trials studying the efficacy of Epidiolex in the treatment of two severe forms of epilepsy; Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), and Dravet Syndrome. Children and adults with each type of epilepsy were recruited for participation in the controlled trials. For one of the studies, the Virginia Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at WMC was the highest enrolling site in the country.
Most recently, in August of 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved EPIDIOLEX® (cannabidiol) oral solution to treat seizures associated with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) in patients one year of age and older. TSC is a rare disease that causes benign tumors to grow in vital organs of the body and is a leading cause of genetic epilepsy. Although tuberous sclerosis complex is a rare condition, Winchester Neurological Consultants currently sees a number of adult and pediatric patients with TSC.
Along with this new indication, the age range has been expanded to include patients one year of age and older who experience seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) or Dravet syndrome. EPIDIOLEX, the first plant-derived cannabinoid prescription medicine and the only FDA-approved form of cannabidiol (CBD), was initially approved by the FDA in June 2018 for the treatment of seizures associated with LGS or Dravet syndrome in patients two years of age and older.