Epilepsy - Medications
Medicines to prevent
epileptic seizures are called antiepileptics. The goal
is to find an effective antiepileptic medicine that causes the fewest side
Taking only one antiepileptic medicine prevents seizures
in up to 7 out of 10 people who have partial seizures. About 8 out of 10 people
have complete seizure control when they take more than one antiepileptic
medicine.2 Although many people experience side
effects, medicine is still the best way to prevent epileptic seizures. The
benefits of treatment with medicine usually outweigh the drawbacks.
There are many antiepileptic medicines (called AEDs, anticonvulsants, or
antiseizure medicines). But they do not all treat the same types of seizures.
The first step your doctor takes in choosing a medicine to treat your seizures
is to identify the types of seizures you have.
It may take time
and careful, controlled adjustments by you and your doctor to find the
combination, schedule, and dosing of medicine to best manage your epilepsy. The
goal is to prevent seizures while causing as few side effects as
possible. After you and your doctor figure out the medicine
program that works best for you, make sure to follow your program exactly as
Using a single antiepileptic medicine is often better
than using more than one medicine. Single medicine use causes fewer side
effects and does not carry the risk of interacting with other medicines. The
chances of missing a dose or taking it at the wrong time are also lower with
just one medicine.
When treatment with one medicine doesn't help you enough, your doctor may suggest a second medicine to help improve seizure control. Also, if you
have several types of seizures, you may need to take more than one medicine.
Many medicines are used to treat epilepsy. Some are used
alone, and some are used only along with other medicines. Your medicine options
depend in part on what types of seizures you have.
may be used first to treat epileptic seizures include:
If epileptic seizures continue even though you are being
treated, your doctor may prescribe one or more of the following medicines: