What Is Vigabatrin Used For?
An infantile spasm is a specific type of seizure that occurs due to a condition known as West syndrome. Symptoms of infantile spasms predominantly appear in the first year of life, typically between three and six months of age. West syndrome is characterized by infantile spasms, hypsarrhythmia (abnormal, chaotic brain wave patterns), and mental retardation. Other neurological disorders, such as cerebral palsy, may be seen in 30 percent to 50 percent of those with infantile spasms.
Infantile spasms are quite serious. Often, the risk of vision loss with vigabatrin is greatly outweighed by the risks of uncontrolled infantile spasms. This medication is approved to treat infantile spasms in babies who are between one month and two years of age, used by itself.
It is thought that vigabatrin works by increasing the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is a natural brain chemical that stops or slows down other brain signals. Increasing GABA helps prevent the abnormal brain signals that lead to a seizure.
Vigabatrin has been studied in people age 16 and older for complex partial seizures, and for young children one month to two years old for infantile spasms. It is not approved for other age groups, as it has not been adequately studied in these age groups. Talk with your child's healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using this medicine in children.
On occasion, a healthcare provider may recommend vigabatrin for something other than the officially approved uses. This is called an "off-label" use. Some off-label uses for vigabatrin may include:
- Treating seizures other than complex partial seizures or infantile spasms
- Using it for any purpose in children between the age of 2 and 16.