Icon of brain with EKG line

You work hard to optimize your patients’ ASMs

However, patients who appear well controlled on ASMs may not be seizure free.

  • 40% experience breakthrough seizures despite ASM therapy1,2

  • Episodes of frequent seizures occurred in 71% of patients experiencing >4 seizures per year3

  • Other factors associated with episodes of frequent seizures include:

    • A history of prolonged seizures or status epilepticus4-6

    • Prior seizures requiring hospitalization5

    • A history of injuries sustained during seizure episodes3

    • A history of multiple seizure types6

    • Reduced quality of life7

Icon of brain with lightning bolts

The unpredictable nature of seizures has a profound impact7

  • In a survey of 259 adults experiencing or managing episodes of frequent seizures7:

    • 75% reported living in fear that they will have a seizure at any time

    • 80% reported a significant emotional burden

  • People with epilepsy desire independence but are often afraid to leave the home8

Adult patients may not always report their seizures for fear of losing their independence,9 making it hard to optimize treatment

Prepare your patients with
the right seizure rescue treatment

3.5x risk of premature death from untreated seizures

Untreated seizures can lead to permanent consequences

  • 3.5x greater risk of premature death in patients experiencing episodes of frequent seizures10

  • Neuronal damage from recurrent seizures can have behavioral and cognitive consequences11

Icon of stopwatch

Treating early after seizure onset is critical

  • The longer a seizure is left untreated, the more difficult it may be to treat12,13

  • Benzodiazepines are most effective when used early after a seizure starts, due to changes at synapses that degrade GABA signaling over time12,13

Talk with your patients about having the right on-hand seizure rescue treatment

Along with an ASM, having a nasal rescue medication that can be delivered soon after an episode of frequent seizures begins could provide more comprehensive management for more of your patients at risk.14,15

Indication

VALTOCO® (diazepam nasal spray) is indicated for the acute treatment of intermittent, stereotypic episodes of frequent seizure activity (ie, seizure clusters, acute repetitive seizures) that are distinct from a patient’s usual seizure pattern in patients with epilepsy 6 years of age and older.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
WARNING: RISKS FROM CONCOMITANT USE WITH OPIOIDS; ABUSE, MISUSE, AND ADDICTION; and DEPENDENCE AND WITHDRAWAL REACTIONS
  • Concomitant use of benzodiazepines and opioids may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death. Reserve concomitant prescribing of these drugs for patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate. Limit dosages and durations to the minimum required. Follow patients for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation.

  • The use of benzodiazepines, including VALTOCO, exposes users to risks of abuse, misuse, and addiction, which can lead to overdose or death. Abuse and misuse of benzodiazepines commonly involve concomitant use of other medications, alcohol, and/or illicit substances, which is associated with an increased frequency of serious adverse outcomes. Before prescribing VALTOCO and throughout treatment, assess each patient’s risk for abuse, misuse, and addiction.

  • The continued use of benzodiazepines may lead to clinically significant physical dependence. The risks of dependence and withdrawal increase with longer treatment duration and higher daily dose. Although VALTOCO is indicated only for intermittent use, if used more frequently than recommended, abrupt discontinuation or rapid dosage reduction of VALTOCO may precipitate acute withdrawal reactions, which can be life-threatening. For patients using VALTOCO more frequently than recommended, to reduce the risk of withdrawal reactions, use a gradual taper to discontinue VALTOCO.

Contraindications: VALTOCO is contraindicated in patients with:

  • Hypersensitivity to diazepam

  • Acute narrow-angle glaucoma

Central Nervous System (CNS) Depression

Benzodiazepines, including VALTOCO, may produce CNS depression. Caution patients against engaging in hazardous activities requiring mental alertness, such as operating machinery, driving a motor vehicle, or riding a bicycle, until the effects of the drug, such as drowsiness, have subsided, and as their medical condition permits.

The potential for a synergistic CNS-depressant effect when VALTOCO is used with alcohol or other CNS depressants must be considered, and appropriate recommendations made to the patient and/or care partner.

Suicidal Behavior and Ideation

Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), including VALTOCO, increase the risk of suicidal ideation and behavior. Patients treated with any AED for any indication should be monitored for the emergence or worsening of depression, suicidal thoughts or behavior, and/or unusual changes in mood or behavior.

Glaucoma

Benzodiazepines, including VALTOCO, can increase intraocular pressure in patients with glaucoma. VALTOCO may be used in patients with open-angle glaucoma only if they are receiving appropriate therapy. VALTOCO is contraindicated in patients with narrow-angle glaucoma.

Neonatal Sedation and Withdrawal Syndrome

Use of VALTOCO late in pregnancy can result in sedation (respiratory depression, lethargy, hypotonia) and/or withdrawal symptoms (hyperreflexia, irritability, restlessness, tremors, inconsolable crying, and feeding difficulties) in the neonate. Monitor neonates exposed to VALTOCO during pregnancy or labor for signs of sedation and monitor neonates exposed to VALTOCO during pregnancy for signs of withdrawal; manage these neonates accordingly.

Risk of Serious Adverse Reactions in Infants due to Benzyl Alcohol Preservative

VALTOCO is not approved for use in neonates or infants. Serious and fatal adverse reactions, including “gasping syndrome,” can occur in neonates and low-birth-weight infants treated with benzyl alcohol–preserved drugs, including VALTOCO. The “gasping syndrome” is characterized by central nervous system depression, metabolic acidosis, and gasping respirations. The minimum amount of benzyl alcohol at which serious adverse reactions may occur is not known.

Adverse Reactions

The most common adverse reactions (at least 4%) were somnolence, headache, and nasal discomfort.

Diazepam, the active ingredient in VALTOCO, is a Schedule IV controlled substance.

To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS, contact Neurelis, Inc. at 1-866-696-3873 or FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (www.fda.gov/medwatch).

Please see full Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warning.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION, INCLUDING BOXED WARNING

icon
WARNING: RISKS FROM CONCOMITANT USE WITH OPIOIDS; ABUSE, MISUSE, AND ADDICTION; and DEPENDENCE AND WITHDRAWAL REACTIONS
  • Concomitant use of benzodiazepines and opioids may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death. Reserve concomitant prescribing of these drugs for patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate. Limit dosages and durations to the minimum required. Follow patients for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation.

  • The use of benzodiazepines, including VALTOCO, exposes users to risks of abuse, misuse, and addiction, which can lead to overdose or death. Abuse and misuse of benzodiazepines commonly involve concomitant use of other medications, alcohol, and/or illicit substances, which is associated with an increased frequency of serious adverse outcomes. Before prescribing VALTOCO and throughout treatment, assess each patient’s risk for abuse, misuse, and addiction.

  • The continued use of benzodiazepines may lead to clinically significant physical dependence. The risks of dependence and withdrawal increase with longer treatment duration and higher daily dose. Although VALTOCO is indicated only for intermittent use, if used more frequently than recommended, abrupt discontinuation or rapid dosage reduction of VALTOCO may precipitate acute withdrawal reactions, which can be life-threatening. For patients using VALTOCO more frequently than recommended, to reduce the risk of withdrawal reactions, use a gradual taper to discontinue VALTOCO.

Contraindications: VALTOCO is contraindicated in patients with:

  • Hypersensitivity to diazepam

  • Acute narrow-angle glaucoma

Central Nervous System (CNS) Depression

Benzodiazepines, including VALTOCO, may produce CNS depression. Caution patients against engaging in hazardous activities requiring mental alertness, such as operating machinery, driving a motor vehicle, or riding a bicycle, until the effects of the drug, such as drowsiness, have subsided, and as their medical condition permits.

The potential for a synergistic CNS-depressant effect when VALTOCO is used with alcohol or other CNS depressants must be considered, and appropriate recommendations made to the patient and/or care partner.

Suicidal Behavior and Ideation

Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), including VALTOCO, increase the risk of suicidal ideation and behavior. Patients treated with any AED for any indication should be monitored for the emergence or worsening of depression, suicidal thoughts or behavior, and/or unusual changes in mood or behavior.

Glaucoma

Benzodiazepines, including VALTOCO, can increase intraocular pressure in patients with glaucoma. VALTOCO may be used in patients with open-angle glaucoma only if they are receiving appropriate therapy. VALTOCO is contraindicated in patients with narrow-angle glaucoma.

Neonatal Sedation and Withdrawal Syndrome

Use of VALTOCO late in pregnancy can result in sedation (respiratory depression, lethargy, hypotonia) and/or withdrawal symptoms (hyperreflexia, irritability, restlessness, tremors, inconsolable crying, and feeding difficulties) in the neonate. Monitor neonates exposed to VALTOCO during pregnancy or labor for signs of sedation and monitor neonates exposed to VALTOCO during pregnancy for signs of withdrawal; manage these neonates accordingly.

Risk of Serious Adverse Reactions in Infants due to Benzyl Alcohol Preservative

VALTOCO is not approved for use in neonates or infants. Serious and fatal adverse reactions, including “gasping syndrome,” can occur in neonates and low-birth-weight infants treated with benzyl alcohol–preserved drugs, including VALTOCO. The “gasping syndrome” is characterized by central nervous system depression, metabolic acidosis, and gasping respirations. The minimum amount of benzyl alcohol at which serious adverse reactions may occur is not known.

Adverse Reactions

The most common adverse reactions (at least 4%) were somnolence, headache, and nasal discomfort.

Diazepam, the active ingredient in VALTOCO, is a Schedule IV controlled substance.

To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS, contact Neurelis, Inc. at 1-866-696-3873 or FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (www.fda.gov/medwatch).

Please see full Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warning.

References

1. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The epilepsies and seizures: hope through research. NIH Publication No. 18-NS-156. September 2018. Accessed September 10, 2023. https://catalog.ninds.nih.gov/sites/default/files/publications/epilepsies-seizures-hope-through-research.pdf; 2. Manford M. Recent advances in epilepsy. J Neurol. 2017;264(8):1811-1824. doi:10.1007/s00415-017-8394-2; 3. Detyniecki K, O’Bryan J, Choezom T, et al. Prevalence and predictors of seizure clusters: a prospective observational study of adult patients with epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav. 2018;88:349-356. doi:10.1016/j.yebeh.2018.09.035; 4. Haut SR, Shinnar S, Moshé SL, O’Dell C, Legatt AD. The association between seizure clustering and convulsive status epilepticus in patients with intractable complex partial seizures. Epilepsia. 1999;40(12):1832-1834. doi:10.1111/j.1528-1157.1999.tb01607.x; 5. Haut SR, Shinnar S, Moshé SL. Seizure clustering: risks and outcomes. Epilepsia. 2005;46(1):146-149. doi:10.1111/j.0013-9580.2005.29004.x; 6. Zhong R, Chen Q, Zhang X, Lin W. The occurrence of seizure clusters in patients with epilepsy is partly determined by epilepsy severity: a single-center retrospective observational study. Front Neurol. 2021;12:794086. doi:10.3389/fneur.2021.794086; 7. Penovich PE, Buelow J, Steinberg K, Sirven J, Wheless J. Burden of seizure clusters on patients with epilepsy and caregivers: survey of patient, caregiver, and clinician perspectives. Neurologist. 2017;22(6):207-214. doi:10.1097/NRL.0000000000000140; 8. Munger Clary HM, Giambarberi L, Floyd WN, Hamberger MJ. Afraid to go out: poor quality of life with phobic anxiety in a large cross-sectional adult epilepsy center sample. Epilepsy Res. 2023;190:107092. doi:10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2023.107092; 9. Salinsky MC, Wegener K, Sinnema F. Epilepsy, driving laws, and patient disclosure to physicians. Epilepsia. 1992;33(3):469-472. doi:10.1111/j.1528-1157.1992.tb01693.x; 10. Sillanpää M, Schmidt D. Seizure clustering during drug treatment affects seizure outcome and mortality of childhood-onset epilepsy. Brain. 2008;131(pt 4):938-944. doi:10.1093/brain/awn037; 11. Sutula TP, Hagen J, Pitkänen A. Do epileptic seizures damage the brain? Curr Opin Neurol. 2003;16(2):189-195. doi:10.1097/01.wco.0000063770.15877.bc; 12. Naylor DE. Treating acute seizures with benzodiazepines: does seizure duration matter? Epileptic Disord. 2014;16(spec no 1):S69-S83. doi:10.1684/epd.2014.0691; 13. Niquet J, Baldwin R, Suchomelova L, et al. Benzodiazepine-refractory status epilepticus: pathophysiology and principles of treatment. Ann NY Acad Sci. 2016;1378(1):166-173. doi:10.1111/nyas.13147; 14. O’Dell C, Wheless JW, Cloyd J. The personal and financial impact of repetitive or prolonged seizures on the patient and family. J Child Neurol. 2007;22(5)(suppl):61S-70S. doi:10.1177/0883073807303070; 15. Seizure rescue therapies. Epilepsy Foundation. Accessed September 10, 2023. https://www.epilepsy.com/treatment/seizure-rescue-therapies

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