The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of Potiga (ezogabine) tablets to treat seizures associated with epilepsy in adults.

Potiga, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, is the first neuronal potassium channel opener developed to treat partial seizures, the most common type of seizure seen in people with epilepsy, a disorder in which there is abnormal or excessive activity of nerve cells in the brain.

Although the mechanism of action is not firmly established, the drug may act as an anticonvulsant by reducing excitability through the stabilisation of neuronal potassium channels in an “open” position.

Valeant head of research and development Susan Hall said, “We are so pleased to reach such an important milestone with the US approval of Potiga by the FDA.

“We believe this product will play a needed role in the management of partial onset seizures in appropriate patients who are uncontrolled on their current medications.”

Final classification of the drug is still under review by the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration and ezogabine will not be available until this process is complete.

Ezogabine is expected to be available in US pharmacies by the end of the year.