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Anti Epileptic Medication

The number of medicines licensed for the treatment of epilepsy has greatly increased in the last twenty years. This does not mean that all patients diagnosed with epilepsy can expect to gain complete control over their seizures with the regular use of prescribed medication. Even the most optimistic prescribers suggest that a success level approaching 70% is the best that can be expected and then after only after various medications and dosages have been tried. These anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) are not used to stop seizures whilst they are in progress and they do not cure epilepsy. For Information on particular medicines click here  It is important that a degree of patience is observed during the search for the best level and type of medication to control their seizures because as with most medicines the beneficial effects are come at the cost of unwanted side effects. In fact the development of new medicines is linked as much to limiting side effects as providing greater seizure control.

 Different drugs work in different ways, but those for epilepsy  all aim to stop seizures happening. Before starting them, it is important that your neurologist finds out as much as possible about your epilepsy. This is because the medication that they prescribe depends on making sure you have epilepsy and finding the type(s) of seizures you have. The medication will need to be taken regularly and probably  over a number of years. Your neurologist will take into account any other medical conditions you may have and the medication for those to make sure there is no contra-indication. Medications have bothj a proprietary and generic name as explained at the following page. We quote an expert summary of the medication you are likely to be prescribed if you are diagnosed as having epilepsy.

 

"In general, epilepsy treatment is long-term, so minimisation of adverse effects is key. The composite outcome measure of time remaining on treatment takes efficacy and adverse effects into account. This meta-analysis supports NICE evaluations (2004, 2012) that carbamazepine and lamotrigine are suitable for focal seizures and levetiracetam is an alternative. Also, valproate is effective for generalised tonic-clonic seizures, with lamotrigine and levetiracetam alternatives, particularly if pregnancy is contemplated.

The availability of many medications that suppress seizures brings choice and the ability to minimise adverse-effects, but these have not affected remission rates. We await therapies that prevent the development of epilepsy and alter its natural history.

John Duncan, Professor of Neurology, UCL; Divisional Clinical Director, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery"

 Before starting you on them, it is important that your neurologist finds out as much as possible about your epilepsy. This is because the medication that they prescribe depends on making sure you have epilepsy and finding the type(s) of seizures you have. The medication will need to be taken regularly and often over a number of years. Your neurologist will take into account any other medical conditions you may have and the medication for those to make sure there is no contra-indication which would cause undesirable side effects. 

From Wednesday 11 January2012, doctors  had  new advice on the drugs they should prescribe their patients who have epilepsy. This comes as the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the healthcare guidance body, updates the pharmacological recommendations from its clinical guideline on the diagnosis and management of the condition.

The guideline has been revised to fully incorporate newer anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) which have emerged in UK clinical practice since the original guidance was published in 2004.

 For information on the supply of medicines  see Medicine News page

Click here for Information on particular medicines

This introduction is in line with the recommendations of the EpilepsySociety and further information can be found on the Epilepsy Website

 For information on the supply of medicines  see Medicine News page

 

 For reliable information on any aspect of epilepsy search here