Tag Archives: epilepsy medication

Episode 23: Autism Spectrum Disorder in TSC and TACERN



In Episode 23 of TSC Now, host Dan Klein recognizes World Autism Month and Autism Acceptance Month by learning more about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). ASD occurs in nearly 50% of children with TSC, significantly higher the rate in the general population (roughly 1% worldwide). Additionally, there is a very clear link between ASD and cognitive impairment in TSC.

To better understand the connection between autism and TSC, and how ongoing research can help expand our knowledge of autism not just in TSC, but more generally, Dan spoke to Mustafa Sahin, MD, PhD, (02:11) Director of both the Translational Neuroscience Center and the Multi-Disciplinary Tuberous Sclerosis Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Sahin is one of the Principal Investigators of the TSC Autism Center of Excellence Research Network, otherwise known as TACERN. TACERN is a coalition of five research hospitals: Boston Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of California at Los Angeles and University of Texas at Houston. The group was formed in 2012 and received a grant from the NIH to better understand autism in TSC and to identify potential biomarkers that could predict what children were at higher risk of cognitive manifestations. From that initial grant 80 papers have been published on a wide range of discoveries in TSC. Dr. Sahin shares some of the discoveries from the last decade, how discoveries made in autism in TSC have wider implications for autism in general, the current progress on identifying biomarkers, and what questions remain.

Finally, we are officially two weeks away from the Step Forward to Cure TSC® Global Virtual Walk-Run-Ride on May 15 and 16, coinciding with TSC Global Awareness Day. This historic, world-wide event will bring together thousands of people from across the globe, all working together to champion the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance’s efforts to fund groundbreaking research, offer critically needed support programs and increase awareness. Our goal is to raise $700,000 toward that mission, and there is still time for you to donate, register and fundraise to help us hit that goal. However you participate, your support makes a tangible difference in the lives of everyone with TSC. Learn the many ways you can get involved at www.stepforwardtocuretsc.org. Thank you to both the National and Local sponsors for championing this amazing event!

National Sponsors

Local Sponsors

Resources and Links


Episode 22: Overcoming Hurdles with Health Plans and Specialty Pharmacies



In Episode 22 of TSC Now, host Dan Klein explores overcoming hurdles in healthcare, specifically to help parents/caregivers and individuals with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) navigate issues with access to medications, changes to their health plans and how to best communicate with specialty pharmacies. This episode is sponsored by Greenwich Biosciences.

Disclaimer: Greenwich Biosciences utilized Precision Value and Health’s services to gather and respond to the questions being discussed on this podcast. The opinions expressed are those of the speakers individually based on their experience and do not reflect the policies or positions of the speakers’ employers or of Greenwich Biosciences. The following content is for informational purposes only and does not guarantee access or coverage of any product. 

First, to provide some context on what access challenges can be like for individuals and families, Dan talked to Shelly Meitzler (01:40), TS Alliance Regional Program Manager East and mom to Ashlin and Mason with TSC.  Shelly shares about a recent challenging experience refilling a prescription for Ashlin earlier this year. She talks about where she hit roadblocks, how she felt navigating the insurance and pharmacy system, and how she ultimately got resolution. Her story highlights several common hurdles experienced by many families, including problems when switching insurance plans, not knowing when a prior authorization is required, trying to figure out who your care team is at your pharmacy, and finally dealing with a retail pharmacy versus a specialty pharmacy.

Then, to tackle common questions, some of which were mentioned in Shelly’s story, Dan speaks to two former payers, Hetty Lima and Kellie Rademacher from Precision Value and Health (17:44). Building off of their extensive pharmacy knowledge, Hetty and Kellie answer a number of questions members have when dealing with access issues, such as:

  • What do I need to do if my health plan changes?
  • What do I do when my medication is no longer covered by my insurance plan?
  • How do I navigate having two different health plans?
  • How do I know when a medication requires a prior authorization, step therapy, or has a quantity limit or any other type of rule or edit that could impact access?
  • Where can I find available resources if I need emergency access to my medications?

This conversation builds off of an E-Webinar from earlier this year, Overcoming Hurdles: Insurance, Scripts and Specialty Pharmacy, where Jeff Krol, VP of Market Access & Payer Strategy at Greenwich Biosciences, and Ashley Pounders, MSN, FNP, TS Alliance Director of Medical Affairs, provide useful tips on navigating the complex prescription insurance coverage, scripts and specialty pharmacy. We encourage you to re-watch the recording for more information and resources on this topic.

Finally, if you are at risk of running out of a medication for you or your loved one and need assistance, please contact us on our emergency line: (240) 463-7250. That number is available 9 AM to 9 PM Eastern and someone from our team can help.

Resources and Links

 

This episode was sponsored by:


Episode 19: Infantile Spasms Awareness Week (#ISAW2020)



In a very special early edition of TSC Now, host Dan Klein explores the topic of infantile spasms (IS) as Infantile Spasms Awareness Week (ISAW), held annually December 1-7 to raise awareness of IS with both parents/caregivers and frontline physicians, comes to a close. To learn more about infantile spasms go to www.infantilespasms.org.

First, Dan talks to Kelly Knupp, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and member of Infantile Spasms Action Network (ISAN) (01:23). She discusses what infantile spasms are, what they look like and are sometimes misdiagnosed as, and why they are so serious to the cognitive development of babies. She also explains what tests need to be done to confirm a diagnosis, what first line treatments are available, and why early intervention is so important. Finally, she offers advice to parents who suspect their child might be having spasms, and urges all parents who are concerned to first take a video of the strange behavior to share with their doctor and then don’t delay in seeking care despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Then, Dan talks to Ashley Callahan of St. Augustine, Florida (14:53). In June when her daughter Kaylee was 4 months old, Ashely noticed Kaylee making strange repetitive eye movements, which prompted a trip to the emergency room despite the COVID-19 pandemic and eventually a diagnosis of infantile spasms. Ashley shares what led to the decision to take Kaylee to the emergency room, what it was like getting a diagnosis of IS, and how she has found support through groups online. She also shares her advice for other parents who may be worried about their child and encourages them to trust their instincts.

Throughout Infantile Spasms Awareness Week, the TS Alliance and other ISAN partners have made a coordinated effort to develop resources for families and to generate coverage of this important initiative. Below are some links to some of these resources and coverage of #ISAW2020. Our deepest thanks to everyone who helped raise awareness of infantile spasms this year.

Resources and Links


Episode 8: Excerpts from AES and the Current State of Epilepsy Research



In the eighth episode of TSC Now, host Dan Klein catches up with TS Alliance partners at the annual American Epilepsy Society Meeting (AES), the largest gathering on epilepsy in the world, which was held December 6-10 in Baltimore. Seizures remain one of the most common neurological features of TSC, occurring in 85% of individuals with TSC and more than 50% of individuals with TSC who have epilepsy will not respond to standard antiepileptic medications and have intractable epilepsy. Therefore, this meeting was a good opportunity to explore the current state of epilepsy research, what gaps still exist and what’s on the horizon. Continue reading Episode 8: Excerpts from AES and the Current State of Epilepsy Research


Episode 7: Common Parent/Caregiver Challenges and Advocating for Your Health



In the seventh episode of TSC Now, host Dan Klein explores common challenges parents, caregivers and those affected by tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) face when managing their health and seeking care from physicians.

First, he has a conversation with Paul Mullin, MD, Director of Neurology and Epilepsy at Medical Associates of the Hudson Valley (01:22). They discuss the results of a survey conducted by Aquestive Therapeutics on some of the most common challenges parents face when trying to administer medication to children with epilepsy and how new technology can help alleviate some of these challenges. They also talk about what parents and caregivers can do to be proactive in addressing seizures and working with their doctor. Dr. Mullin also shares several online resources where parents can get accurate and reliable information and advice, including the Epilepsy Foundation, the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the LGS Foundation.

Next, Dan talks to Peter Crino, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Director of the TSC Center of Maryland, and a member of the TS Alliance Board of Directors (20:12). We discuss the process of transitioning a patient with TSC from pediatric to adult care, some of the challenges associated with that transition, and how parents and those affected can start preparing to mitigate those challenges. We also talked about how adults with TSC can best manage their care and Dr. Crino emphasizes the importance of following the Consensus Guidelines for Diagnosis, Surveillance and Management of TSC to ensure that different manifestations of the disease are being monitored and managed appropriately throughout one’s lifetime. Finally, we discuss the role telemedicine may play in expanding access to TSC experts.

This episode was sponsored by:

Resources:

Epilepsy Foundation website: https://www.epilepsy.com/

NORD website: https://rarediseases.org/

NINDS website: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/

LGS Foundation website: https://www.lgsfoundation.org/

TSC Center of Maryland website: https://www.umms.org/ummc/health-services/neurology/services/tuberous-sclerosis

Consensus Guidelines for Surveillance and Treatment: https://www.tsalliance.org/individuals-families/treatment-guidelines/consensus-guidelines-for-diagnosis-surveillance-and-management-of-tsc/

Transition resources: https://www.tsalliance.org/individuals-families/young-adults/