What are antiepileptic drugs used for?

Are you wondering why people take antiepileptic drugs? Well, let me enlighten you on this topic. In this article, we will explore the different uses of antiepileptic drugs and how they work in managing epilepsy symptoms.

Epilepsy: An Overview

Before diving into the use of antiepileptics, let’s first understand what epilepsy is. Epilepsy, also known as a seizure disorder, is a chronic neurological condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Those with epilepsy experience recurrent seizures due to abnormal electrical activity in their brain.

Seizures can vary from person to person and range from mild to severe convulsions. You’ll easily recognize someone having an epileptic attack as they might fall down and shake uncontrollably or stare blankly for few seconds at intervals.

While many factors contribute towards causing epilepsy such as genetics or head injuries, sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint those causes leading up to these attacks that are sudden outbursts which could happen anytime – even when driving!

How Do Antiepileptics Work?

Anticonvulsants (or antiepileptics) work by decreasing neuronal excitability in regions susceptible to generating aberrant discharges while simultaneously raising the threshold for discharge initiation. Indeed, antagonism of ion channels that control membrane depolarization appears common across most agents used clinically.

Types Of Seizure And Which Anticonvulsants To Use

There are several types of seizures depending on what part(s) of the brain they originate from.Every patient may have varying severity levels/symptoms too.Thus there isn’t one single medication suited for addressing them all.Anticonvulsants typically target specific forms; here’s a list:

Generalized Seizures

Generalized seizures affects both sides (hemispheres) of your brain simultaneously.Where your muscles may involuntarily jerk or shake and you may even lose consciousness.These come in two forms;

Tonic-Clonic Seizures:
These are the most commonly experienced seizure form (by that I mean if there was a popularity contest of Epilepsy symptoms, these ones would receive first prize) — They target both sides of your brain causing violent muscle spasms like jerking for minutes before briefly losing consciousness.

Absence seizures/ Petite Mal:

An absence seizure is essentially having an off moment – one might suddenly trail in-house mid-sentence, stop what they’re doing and stare blankly into space for anywhere between ten to fifty seconds. Kids who exhibit this type will often fall behind others as they can’t pay attention during schooltime.They occur because of electrical disruptions on both sides of the brain.

If one is experiencing tonic-clonic seizures Sodium Valproate(semoium salt), Carbamazepine & Lamotrigine are optimal treatments since they have significant effects combating them whereas Aethoxysclerol(ethanolamine oleate)and Phenytoin which has been used quite prominently in clinical settings are less effective against tonic-clonics.

Some folks suffering from Absence seizures benefit from medications designed specifically to treat them such as Ethosuximide, but for generalized-seizures it’s generally best to pursue a more broad-targeted treatment protocol.Phenobarbitone has become fairly popular over time

Focal Seizures Onset In One Particular Area

Focal onset epilepsy refers to cases where recurrent epileptic episodes arise from activity within one part/corner/neighbourhood area known as the focal point.Also just so we’re clear,right now people aren’t necessarily sure how signal transmissions go awry just that when signalling fails,lotsa ouchie happens indeed.

Multiple drugs have been approved for treating Focal Seizures:

If seizures are affecting a specific part of the brain(eg: temporal lobe) then Phenytoin,also commonly referred to as Dilantin,may be indicated to help reduce seizure incidents.

If the severity of your epilepsy increases or there is an ongoing trend towards more severe attacks over time systems like Levetiracetamin can fill that gap quite nicely since dosage increments may continue unabated without negative consequence; It’s also fairly non-toxic in comparison with other AEDs out there.

The Uses Of Antiepileptic Drugs

Anticonvulsants prevent and control epileptic seizures. They are used as first-line therapy for most types of generalized and focal epilepsies, including certain genetic disorders involving sodium ion channels. But not just any kind will do! Here’s what you need to know about their different uses:

Reducing Seizure Frequency

The primary use of antiepileptics is reducing the frequency and intensity of seizures among patients suffering from epilepsy.This is especially true if someone has already gone through 2-3 complications due to prolonged/refractory symptoms.The aim here isn’t necessarily total elimination but rather dampening occurrence per week/month so folks can go back living normal lives again.


A drug known as Lamotrigine works across-the-board against many forms of epilepsy.Thus because it’s medically best suited broad spectrum-Anticonvulsant.Therefore,it provides relief against multiple variations from Absence & Generalized tonic-clonic(Fig 1 depicts it better graphically).To some extent,Lamotrigine might control few cases atypical absence too.

Fig. 1: Anticonvulsants (Broad Spectrum)

| Drug             | Used Against                                             | Age Group |
|------------------|-------------------------------------------------------   |----------|
| Lamotrigine      | Multiple Epilepsy Types (Atypical Absence+ Grand Mals    | Adults   |


If you’re looking for more specific symptomatic relief depending on the epilepsy type you’re experiencing, consider trying Phenytoin the miracle cure according to our sources.

Being quite effective against focal-seizures only makes it perfect for reducing negative impact of seizure-infused depression.Cyclohexyl-(Aminobenzene)levamisole is also an impactful substituted derivative useful in such context too.The only worry one has would be their chances developing rashes,the reduction of bone density over time and with older folks possibly drowsiness.

Controlling Neuropathic Pain

Anticonvulsants have been found to help reduce some chronic pain conditions by affecting how nerves signal in various parts that send painful impulses.For this reason if a person without seizures argues that they suffer incurable neuropathy or nerve damage —You can bet your bottom dollar their doctor will eventually recommend Gabapentin(brand-name Neurontin).

It’s true,Nerve cells sending messages about sensation feel can become hyper-excitable due improper electrical activity.In extremeness,this results in sensitivity so refined that even touching surfaces spark off wave upon torments.(IBS anyone?)Luckily drugs like Gabapentin improve these worst times a lot!

Treating Mood Stabilization

Some antiepileptics are mood stabilizers, meaning they treat disorders like bipolar disorder which features recurrent cycles of depression followed by hypomania/mania.Its theorised Valproate alters levels neurotransmitters influencing positively depressive moods.Lithium Carbonate helps regulate neurological functioning during manic episodes.Sometimes side-effects are seen as outlying symptoms; inevitably weight gain occurs frequently

Side Effects Of Antiepileptic Drugs

As we’ve mentioned earlier,Anticonvulsants are not a cure-all medication for seizure disorders.While they do show promising at mitigating frequency and intensity of seizures,they have their downsides too.Let’s analyze the side effects that people complain about post-initial prescription:


Nausea-inducing antiepileptics like Carbamazepine and Valproic acid tend to cause an upset in patient feeling like throwing up.The lengthy-time this effect is felt reduces gradually though so try best push through!


Antiepileptic drugs messing with balance isn’t uncommon either.Residual sensations(aka: Vertigo/Unsteadiness syndromes)leave patients dizzy until acclimatized.

Phenobarbitone is notorious for causing extended drowsy periods as well.Careful driving!

Skin Issues

One fairly rare but serious downside of taking AEDs can be skin inflammation. This occurs when your immune system sends out increased amounts of histamines or antibodies after sensing unknown substances by mistake.A rash usually appears accompanied by mild fever such effect due medicines altering cell function.Better options include Levetiracetamin(onset 9-10 days onwards)


Now you know what kinds of anticonvulsant medications are out there, how they work and what potential complications may arise due to intake.What we hope is folks will no longer hesitate seeking advice from licensed health care practitioners on recommended dosages,more complex symptoms that might be happening.Take them if necessary – don’t put it off any longer!

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