Numerous epilepsy medications can treat an epileptic seizure. In essence, treatment of epilepsy focuses on the brain. If a person suffers from this particular brain disorder, they have to be provided with the right drugs for preventing and treating seizures. In short, epilepsy drugs help to control the electrical activity that happens in the brain. Epileptic seizures are caused by a decline of activity and abnormal bursts.
Firstly, epilepsy medications merely treat symptoms of epilepsy but are not capable of curing the actual condition. Most of the drugs covered in this informative guide have registered 70% success rate. However, your doctor must first perform the correct diagnosis to ascertain the type of seizures you suffer from. A proper diagnosis helps the physician in recommending the ideal treatment. Several factors may also determine the right medication for a particular patient, including the preferable delivery technique, other illnesses, and adverse side effects. Keep in mind, most physicians advise their patients to take brand-name anticonvulsants instead of the generic ones.
Epilepsy Medications Guidelines
Your physician may take a couple of months before recommending the ideal drug and dosage for you. The doctor monitors you carefully during the adjustment period. Your doctor will perform regular blood tests to evaluate your response to a given drug. You also have to honor all the follow-up appointments with the lab technician and the doctor to reduce the risk of severe adverse effects and prevent more complications.
In some cases, epileptic seizures may persist despite the use of medications. This happens when the episodes are non-epileptic. In such a situation, you need to ensure that your diagnosis is re-evaluated by a specialist using EEG-video monitoring. As a matter of fact, roughly 15-20% of individuals with persistent seizures that fail to respond to various epilepsy medications eventually prove not to be epileptic at all.
Common Epilepsy Medications
- Zonegran (Zonisamide)
- Used with other drugs for treating myoclonic, generalized, and partial epileptic seizures.
- Side effects include rashes, headache, abdominal discomfort, kidney stones, unsteady gait, dizziness, and drowsiness.
- Valproic Acid, Valproate (Depakote, Depakene)
- Ideal for treating absence, partial, as well as generalized tonic-clonic epileptic seizures.
- Adverse effects may include low thinking speed, reduced attention, irritability in children, depression in adults, weight gain, hair loss, tremor, vomiting, nausea, and dizziness. Long-term side effects may include irregular menstrual cycles, swelling of ankles, and bone erosion. More severe effects include pancreas complications, decreased platelet count, liver damage, and hearing loss.
- Topamax (Topiramate)
- Used in the treatment of epilepsy with other medications to treat generalized tonic-clonic or partial seizures. It can also help with absence seizures.
- Typical side effects include weight loss, vision problems, memory problems, nervousness, speech problems, dizziness, and sleepiness.
- Gabitril (Tiagabine)
- Used along with other drugs for treating partial seizures in presence or absence of generalized seizures.
- Adverse effects include confusion, anxiety, irritability, weakness, fatigue, and dizziness.
- Lyrica (Pregabalin)
- Used with other epilepsy medications to treat partial seizures. However, it is mainly used in the treatment of neuropathic pain.
- Typical side effects include reduced attention and concentration, weight gain, blurred vision, peripheral edema, dry mouth, somnolence (sleepiness), and dizziness.
- Dilantin (Phenytoin)
- Helps to control generalized tonic-clonic seizures and partial seizures. It can also be administered intravenously at hospitals to control some severe epileptic seizures quickly. Cerebyx (fosphenytoin) is also a more common alternative.
- Adverse effects include hirsutism (increased hair), gum thickening, rashes, acne, slurred speech, fatigue, and dizziness. Bone thinning is also common when the drug is used for an extended period.
- One of the most conventional epilepsy medications still in use. Ideal for treating different types of seizures and is famous for its efficacy and affordability.
- Side effects may include behavior changes and sleepiness.
- Fycompa (Perampanel)
- Recommended for treating generalized tonic-clonic seizures and onset seizures in children of 12 years and over.
- Common side effects include mental disturbances, agitation, euphoria, paranoia, anxiety, anger, aggression, and irritability.
- Oxcarbazepine( Trileptal, Oxtellar XR)
- Ideal for treating partial seizures. The patient takes the drug once a day alone or with other medications to control various epileptic seizures.
- Adverse effects reported by patients include balance problems, double vision, vomiting, headache, sleepiness, and dizziness.
- Keppra (Levetiracetam)
- Often used along with other epilepsy medications for treating shock-like jerks of muscle seizures (myoclonic), primary generalized seizures, and partial seizures.
- Adverse effects may include behavior changes, weakness, and tiredness.
- Lamictal (Lamotrigine)
- Treats mixed seizures, generalized seizures, and partial seizures.
- Only few side effects documented such as rashes, insomnia, and dizziness.
- VIMPAT (Lacosamide)
- Approved for treating partial-onset epileptic seizures in adults.
- Lacosamide can be combined with other epilepsy medications or used alone.
- The drug is available as an injection, oral solution, or as tablets.
- Adverse effects may include nausea, headache, and dizziness.
- Felbatol (Felbamate)
- Recommended for treating partial seizures as well as generalized and partial seizures in patients suffering from Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. It is only used when other medications fail to produce positive results.
- Side effects include depression, headache, insomnia, weight loss, and reduced appetite. Severe and rare side effects may include liver failure or bone marrow failure. Patients using the drug must take liver tests and blood cell counts regularly.
- Zarontin (Ethosuximide)
- Ideal for treating absence seizures.
- Typical side effects include weight loss, decreased appetite, vomiting, and nausea.
- Aptiom (Eslicarbazepine)
- Aptiom is a once-a-day drug used along with other epilepsy drugs or alone for treating partial-onset seizures.
- Common side effects include tremors, blurred vision, ataxia, vertigo, fatigue, vomiting, headache, nausea, and dizziness.
- Ativan (Lorazepam), Valium (Diazepam), and closely related Tranquilizers such as Klonopin (Clonazepam)
- Recommended for short-term treatment of all types of seizures. Efficient for controlling a seizure, especially status epilepticus in the ER.
- The efficacy of the drug decreases over time due to tolerance that builds up within a few weeks among the majority of the patients.
- Valium is also administered as a rectal suppository.
- Typical adverse effects may include loss of appetite, depression, nausea, unsteady walking, and tiredness. Hyperactivity and drooling may also be reported in children.
- Carbamazepine (Tegretol or Carbatrol)
- The ultimate option for mixed, generalized tonic-clonic, and also partial seizures.
- Side effects may include rash, dizziness, nausea, vision changes, and fatigue.
- Briviact (Brivaracetam)
- One of the latest medications for the treatment of seizures. Used as add-on treatment along with other epilepsy medications to control partial onset seizures in children aged 16 years and over.
- Potential adverse effects may include vomiting, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and drowsiness.
Sourced from: WebMD
Featured Image Source: Depositphotos/tashatuvango