Antiepileptic drugs Volume 17, issue 4, Octobre-Novembre-Décembre 2005


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Unité médico-chirurgicale de l’Épilepsie, Explorations neurologiques et Épileptologie, hôpital Gui de Chauliac, 80 av A. Fliche, 34295 Montpellier Cedex 5, France, Centre Saint-Paul, Marseille, France

For many years, epileptologists had few choices for treating epilepsy (phenobarbital, phenytoin, ethosuximide, carbamazepine, valproate, benzodiazepines). Significant breakthroughs have occurred over the past two decades. Eleven newer antiepileptic drugs are now available (felbamate, fosphenytoin, gabapentin, lamotrigine, levetiracetam, oxcarbazepine, pregabaline, tiagabine, topiramate, vigabatrin, zonisamide). The choice of the right antiepileptic drug is not always easy. It depends on its efficacy in specific seizure types and epilepsies, and on its tolerability in individual patients. Indeed, some seizure syndromes may be worsened by certain drugs. The characteristics of “older” and “newer” antiepileptic drugs are reviewed here. We report their individual characteristics including mechanisms of action, pharmacokinetics, dosage, indications, side effects, interactions and give some practical advice for their use.