The anticonvulsant drugs are drugs or medicines used in the treatment of
epileptic seizures. They are also referred as antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) or
antiseizure drugs. The basic purpose of anticonvulsants is to suppress the
rapid and excessive outbursts of neurons that start a seizure. They are
prescription drugs, also increasingly being used in the treatment of bipolar
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a general term used for a some
disorders that cause disturbances in electrical signaling in the brain. The
brain is powered by roughly 80 pulses of energy per second. These pulses
while move backward and forward between nerve cells produce feelings,
thoughts, and memories. An epileptic seizure occurs when these energy pulses
come much more rapidly, like for instance, as many as 500 per second for a
short time and this is because of an electrical abnormality in the brain.
This short duration electrical surge can happen in just a small area of the
brain, or it can affect the whole brain. Depending on the part of the brain
that is affected, the epileptic seizure occurs like as follows:
- Changes in a person's sensations or state of consciousness.
- Uncontrolled movements of certain parts of the body or of the whole
Epilepsy is not contagious. A tendency toward epilepsy may be
inherited, but it cannot be caught like a cold from another person.
How are Anticonvulsants Helpful?
Anticonvulsants represent a very
large group of medications, all with a main goal of preventing seizure
activity in the brain. They work in a number of ways to prevent epileptic
seizure like as:
- They block different neurotransmitters.
- They bind to different receptors.
- They alter ion channels in the brain, which change the different
mechanisms of action.
Commom Anticonvulsants Drugs
There are different anticonvulsants
drugs available depending on the seizure. They are as follows:
- Pregabalin, or Lyrica: Useful for generalized anxiety disorder and
social anxiety disorder.
- Gabapentin or Neurontin: Useful in social anxiety disorder.
- Lamotrigine, or Lamictal: Useful in the treatment of the
post-traumatic stress disorder.
- SSRI antidepressants, benzodiazepines, or buspirone etc.
While these drugs are used primarily to control epileptic seizures,
they are also approved treatments for other conditions, such as bipolar
disorder, mania, migraine and chronic nerve pain.
Most drugs have dose-related side effects. Some
patients tolerate bigger doses than others, but most medications cause
dizziness and sleepiness at larger doses.