A medication marketed by UCB, Inc. of Smyrna, GA, was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

According to pharmpro.com, the medication, called Briviact (brivaracetam), has been approved as an add-on treatment for partial onset seizures in patients 16-years and older with epilepsy.

“Briviact’s effectiveness was studied in three clinical trials involving 1,550 participants,” pharmpro.com reports. “Taken along with other medications, it was shown to be effective in reducing the frequency of seizures, according to the FDA. The most common side effects reported in clinical trials included drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.”

Epilepsy affects people of all ages and is the fourth most common neurological disorder, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. It usually is diagnosed after a person has had at least two seizures not caused by a known medical condition.

It’s estimated that 5.1 million people in the United States have a history of the disorder while some 2.9 million suffer from active epilepsy. Globally, UCB estimates that more than 30 percent of the 65 million people with epilepsy are resistant to treatments currently available, according to the article.

Epilepsy is characterized by recurrent, disorganized, abnormal electrical firing in brain cells, which can disrupt normal functioning of the brain, according to an article on abouthealth.com. “This disruption can cause recurrent seizures, which is the main symptom of epilepsy. While the seizures are usually caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain, they can manifest very differently from person to person. For instance, one type of seizure may cause a brief loss of consciousness, whereas another seizure type may cause uncontrollable jerking of the entire body.”

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, many people with epilepsy have more than one type of seizure and may also have other symptoms of neurological problems.

Some symptoms include uncontrolled movements or spasms, abnormal thinking and behavior, and abnormal sensations. If violent, muscle spasms may cause loss of consciousness.

Possible causes include abnormal brain development, traumatic brain injury, stroke, infection and tumors. In many cases, the specific cause is unknown.

“Patients can have different responses to the various seizure medicines that are available,” Billy Dunn, M.D., director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said. “With the approval of Briviact, I am pleased that patients with epilepsy have a new treatment option.”

Read more about Briviact and UCB here.