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A new drug from Zogenix that treats a rare and severe type of epilepsy was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday — a decision that clears the way for the company to compete against a recently approved medicine derived from marijuana.

The Zogenix drug, called Fintepla, is a liquid solution administered to children born with Dravet syndrome, a severe type of epilepsy that causes frequent and prolonged seizures starting within the first year of life. Approximately 250 children in the U.S. are born with Dravet each year, and it affects about 20,000 people overall.


Fintepla reduces the frequency of monthly seizures by about 70%, making it the most effective medicine for people with Dravet approved to date, said Elaine Wirrell, a pediatric neurologist at the Mayo Clinic. Wirrell treated Dravet patients in Zogenix’s clinical trials.

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