Epilepsy Drugs to Treat Seizures
For 70% of patients with epilepsy, drugs can control seizures. However, they can’t cure epilepsy, and most people will need to continue taking medications.
An accurate diagnosis of the type of epilepsy (not just the type of seizure, because most seizure types occur in different types of epilepsy) a person has is very important in choosing the best treatment. The type of medication prescribed will also depend on several factors specific to each patient, such as which side effects can be tolerated, other illnesses he or she may have, and which delivery method is acceptable.
Below is a list of some of the most common brand-name drugs currently used to treat epilepsy. Your doctor may prefer that you take the brand name of anticonvulsant and not the generic substitution. Talk with your doctor about this important issue.
- Approved for use as an add-on treatment to other medications in treating partial onset seizures in patients age 16 years and older.
- Possible side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.
- Approved in 2018 for treatment of severe or hard-to-treat seizures including those in patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
- Common side effects include lethargy, sleepiness, fatigue, increased appetite, diarrhea and sleep disorders.
- First choice for partial, generalized tonic-clonic and mixed seizures
- Common adverse effects include fatigue, vision changes, nausea, dizziness, rash.
- Effective in short-term treatment of all seizures; used often in the emergency room to stop a seizure, particularly status epilepticus
- Tolerance develops in most within a few weeks, so the same dose has less effect over time.
- Valium can also be given as rectal suppository.
- Side effects include tiredness, unsteady walking, nausea, depression, and loss of appetite. In children, they can cause drooling and hyperactivity.
- This drug is a once-a-day medication used alone or in combination with other anti-seizure drugs to treat partial-onset seizures.
- The most common side effects include dizziness, nausea, headache, vomiting, fatigue, vertigo, ataxia, blurred vision, and tremor.