Use Anti-Seizures

Anticonvulsants and Pain

Medications for epilepsy, called anticonvulsants or anti-seizure drugs, can also help ease some types of chronic pain. If your doctor prescribes them, track your medication use and note how they affect your pain.

Conditions: Back pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, migraine

Symptoms: Aching, burning, muscle pain, pain, pain when standing, pain with movement, lower back pain, sharp pain, shocking pain, numbness, tingling, buttock numbness, throbbing pain, headache, back pain, deep pain, electric pain, head pain, jaw pain, buttock pain, leg pain, arm pain, pinched nerve, tender points, pins and needles

Triggers:

Treatments: topiramate, Topamax, Topiragen, Gabapentin, Neurontin, Fanatrex, Gabarone, Gralise, Horizant, pregabalin, Lyrica, lamotrigine, Lamictal, carbamazepine, Carbatrol, Tegretol, Epitol, Equetro, oxcarbazepine, Trileptal, phenytoin, Dilantin, valproic acid, Depakote, Depakene, divalproex sodium

Categories:  Meds

Duration

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Anticonvulsants and Nerve Pain

Anticonvulsants were originally developed to treat epilepsy. Doctors then discovered that these medicines can also help relieve chronic pain caused by nerve damage, or neuropathy. They also help to relieve back pain caused by a pinched nerve. Experts are not sure how anticonvulsants work to relieve nerve pain. One suggestion is that they may block the transmission of pain signals. Three of the five FDA-approved treatments for neuropathic pain are anticonvulsants.

Prompt: Burning pain, numbness, or tingling?

CTA: Drugs for epilepsy treat nerve pain.

Conditions: Back pain, nerve pain

Symptoms: Aching, burning, muscle pain, pain, pain when standing, pain with movement, lower back pain, upper back pain, sharp pain, shocking pain, numbness, tingling, buttock numbness, throbbing pain, back pain, deep pain, electric pain, jaw pain, buttock pain, leg pain, arm pain, pinched nerve, tender points, pins and needles

Triggers: 

Treatments: topiramate, Topamax, Topiragen ,Gabapentin, Neurontin, Fanatrex, Gabarone, Gralise, Horizant, pregabalin, Lyrica, lamotrigine, Lamictal, carbamazepine, Carbatrol, Tegretol, Epitol, Equetro, oxcarbazepine, Trileptal, phenytoin, Dilantin, valproic acid, Depakote, Depakene, divalproex sodium

Categories: Meds

Specific Anticonvulsants for Specific Pains

Don't give up too soon on anticonvulsants for pain, even if you don't feel better yet. To help prevent troublesome side effects, doctors usually start with a very low dose -- too low for you to feel much benefit -- and increase it gradually. It may take a few weeks or more before you're at a dosage that will help ease your pain.

Prompt: Stick with treatment!

CTA: Give drugs time to work.

Conditions: Back pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, migraine

Symptoms:  Aching, burning, muscle pain, pain, pain when standing, pain with movement, lower back pain, upper back pain, sharp pain, shocking pain, numbness, tingling, buttock numbness, throbbing pain, headache, back pain, deep pain, electric pain, head pain, jaw pain, buttock pain, leg pain, arm pain, pinched nerve, tender points, pins and needles

Triggers: 

Treatments: topiramate, Topamax, Topiragen, Gabapentin, Neurontin, Fanatrex, Gabarone, Gralise, Horizant, pregabalin, Lyrica, lamotrigine, Lamictal, carbamazepine, Carbatrol, Tegretol, Epitol, Equetro, oxcarbazepine, Trileptal, phenytoin, Dilantin, valproic acid, Depakote, Depakene, divalproex sodium

Categories: Meds

Drug Side Effects

Be aware of the possible side effects of anti-seizure medicines. They include drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, constipation, difficulty concentrating, swollen arms, calves, or ankles, and weight gain or loss. Older adults may be particularly sensitive to side effects from anti-seizure medications. If you notice any of these symptoms after starting the anti-seizure drug, call your doctor for advice.

Prompt:  New symptoms?

CTA:  Know anti-seizure side effects.

Conditions: Back pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, migraine

Symptoms: Aching, burning, muscle pain, pain, pain when standing, pain with movement, lower back pain, upper back pain, sharp pain, shocking pain, numbness, tingling, buttock numbness, throbbing pain, headache, back pain, deep pain, electric pain, head pain, jaw pain, buttock pain, leg pain, arm pain, pinched nerve, tender points, pins and needles, dizziness, dry mouth, constipation, exhaustion, fatigue, lightheadedness, concentration problems

Triggers:

Treatments: topiramate, Topamax, Topiragen, Gabapentin, Neurontin, Fanatrex, Gabarone, Gralise, Horizant, pregabalin, Lyrica, lamotrigine, Lamictal, carbamazepine, Carbatrol, Tegretol, Epitol, Equetro, oxcarbazepine, Trileptal, phenytoin, Dilantin, valproic acid, Depakote, Depakene, divalproex sodium

Categories: Meds

When to Go to the ER

Most people use anti-seizure medications without any problem. However, while rare, serious side effects may occur. These include allergic reactions such as swelling, hives, and itching; changes in heart rhythm; confusion; hallucinations; inability to sit still; mood swings, aggression, and other serious behavior changes; and suicidal thoughts. Seek emergency medical help if you notice these or any other serious side effects from your anti-seizure medicines.  

Prompt:  Take anti-seizure meds?

CTA:  Learn rare side effects.

Conditions: Back pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, migraine

Symptoms: Aching, burning, muscle pain, pain, pain when standing, pain with movement, lower back pain, upper back pain, sharp pain, shocking pain, numbness, tingling, buttock numbness, throbbing pain, headache

Triggers:

Treatments: topiramate, Topamax, Topiragen, Gabapentin, Neurontin, Fanatrex, Gabarone, Gralise, Horizant, pregabalin, Lyrica, lamotrigine, Lamictal, carbamazepine, Carbatrol, Tegretol, Epitol, Equetro, oxcarbazepine, Trileptal, phenytoin, Dilantin, valproic acid, Depakote, Depakene, divalproex sodium

Categories: Meds

Anticonvulsants and Migraine Prevention

Anti-seizure drugs such as Topamax or Topiragen (topiramate) and Depakote (divalproex sodium) are sometimes used to help prevent migraine headaches. Once a migraine has started, you need to use a different type of medication to help relieve it. To be most effective, you need to take preventive medications for migraine every day or as often as your doctor recommends.

Prompt:  Ward off migraine.

CTA:  Anti-seizure meds for prevention.

Conditions: migraine

Symptoms: Aching, burning, pain, pain with movement, throbbing pain, headache, head pain

Triggers:

Treatments: topiramate, Topamax, Topiragen, divalproex sodium, Depakote, Gabapentin, Neurontin, Fanatrex, Gabarone, Gralise, Horizant, pregabalin, Lyrica, lamotrigine, Lamictal, carbamazepine, Carbatrol, Tegretol, Epitol, Equetro, oxcarbazepine, Trileptal, phenytoin, Dilantin, valproic acid, Depakote, Depakene, divalproex sodium

Categories: Meds

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on May 26, 2019

Sources

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UpToDate.

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