This November, Epilepsy Awareness Month, we’re shining a spotlight on epilepsy – a patient community that’s near to our hearts and a research area we have been committed to for many years. Each day, we commit to helping people living with epilepsy like LaKeisha, patient advocate and life coach, achieve their dreams.
What is epilepsy? Epilepsy is a chronic disorder characterized by recurrent seizures.1,2 There are many different types of epilepsy, and seizure types may vary from a very brief lapse in attention or muscle jerk to severe and prolonged convulsions. Seizures can also vary in frequency, from less than one a year to several per day.2
Epilepsy can be associated with profound physical, psychological, and social consequences, and its impact on a person’s quality of life can be significant. Seizures can be unpredictable and there is often stigma associated with epilepsy.2
How common is epilepsy? Epilepsy is a common serious neurological condition. It is estimated that 3.4 million people in the U.S. have epilepsy, and 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy at some time in their life.1,3 Although treatments have come a long way, for 1 in 3 patients, seizures remain uncontrolled because no available treatment works for them. This is the great challenge we continue to tackle. Currently, there are 36 medicines for epilepsy and other seizure disorders in development across the biopharmaceutical industry.3
So, how does UCB deliver what people living with epilepsy value? We have been working in epilepsy for decades. Each day, we commit to discovering new ways to help people living with epilepsy find their ideal, whether that’s by bridging the gap through medical innovations and technology, or helping patients with life in between seizures through other solutions. Here are a few examples of our commitment beyond medicines:
- For 15 years, we have partnered with Canine Assistants© . UCB has supported nearly 400 service dogs with their seizure response training to ensure they can be great support to their patient partners with epilepsy. More than just furry friends, these service dogs help their partners in everyday life, such as summoning help and staying with them during a seizure.
- Since 2005, we have awarded nearly 450 scholarships through the UCB Family Epilepsy Scholarship Program to deserving applicants in support of their educational studies. The program is open to people living with epilepsy, their family members, and/or caregivers. The scholarship has helped to support a wide-range of career paths, and even a next generation of scientists, who one day may unlock the science of epilepsy, like 2005 winner Maria Genco who just became a neuroscientist.
- We support several online (website and Facebook) and print platforms of EpilepsyAdvocate™, a community of people living with epilepsy, family members, and caregivers. When it comes to epilepsy, knowledge is power. EpilepsyAdvocate is a community where people with epilepsy and their loved ones can learn more about epilepsy and managing the condition.
Learn more about epilepsy this Epilepsy Awareness Month by checking out EpilepsyAdvocate – we’ll be featuring a special section called “Painting a Picture of Epilepsy” where advocates will be sharing firsthand what it’s like to live with epilepsy through art. Also, follow us on Twitter for more news throughout the month, as well as help us spread awareness by using the hashtag #EpilepsyAwarenessMonth.
- Epilepsy Foundation. Epilepsy Statistics. Available at: https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/about-epilepsy-basics/epilepsy-statistics. Accessed October 25, 2018.
- UCB. Epilepsy. Available at: https://www.ucb.com/disease-areas/Epilepsy. Accessed October 25, 2018.
- PhRMA. Medicines in Development for Neurological Disorders. Available at: http://phrma-docs.phrma.org/files/dmfile/PhRMA_MIDReport_Neuro_2018_FINAL.pdf. Accessed October 25, 2018.
- UCB. Tackling Epilepsy to Deliver Value to Patients. Available at: https://www.ucb.com/patients/magazine/detail/article/Tackling-epilepsy-to-deliver-value-to-patients. Accessed October 25, 2018.