Join or Renew and Choose Your Gift
- Offer ends Dec. 17
- Discounts on travel and everyday savings
- Subscription to AARP The Magazine
- Free membership for your spouse or partner
Antiepileptic drugs are medicines that reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures.
This class of drugs includes some drugs that have other uses as well. Phenobarbital is a barbiturate. Barbiturates were once widely used as sleeping pills and are still used in anesthesia for surgery. Clonazepam, clorazepate, and diazepam are members of the benzodiazepine group of drugs and are best known for their use as tranquilizers. Phenytoin is used both to control epileptic seizures and to control irregular heart beats.
There are several different types of epilepsy. Different drugs work best on different types of epilepsy. Following is a list of some of the drugs and their uses:
Although epilepsy is a collective term for a variety of different types of seizures, all forms of epilepsy start with a random discharge of nerve impulses into the brain. Antiepileptic drugs act by either raising the seizure threshold or by limiting the spread of impulses from one
Phenobarbital appears to act by slowing down all parts of the brain.
Hydantoins, the class that includes phenytoin, mephenytoin, and ethotoin, seem to work by reducing the flow of sodium into and out of nerve cells. This makes the cells less likely to send out spontaneous impulses, which are the beginning of an epileptic seizure.
Succinimides (ethosuximide, methsuximide, phensuximide) elevate the seizure threshold and make it harder for a nerve impulse to spread from one nerve to another.
Zonisamide may work in a manner similar to the hydantoins, by restricting sodium flow, but some studies contradict this theory.
Benzodiazepines may work by stimulating some brain chemicals that normally slow down nerve function, but the exact mechanism is not known.
Author Info: Samuel Uretsky PharmD, Thomson Gale, Gale, Detroit, Gale Encyclopedia of Children's Health, 2006
Enter your symptoms in our Symptom Checker to find out possible causes of your symptoms. Go.
Enter any list of prescription drugs and see how they interact with each other and with other substances. Go.
Enter its color and shape information, and this tool helps you identify it. Go.
Find information on drug interactions, side effects, and more. Go.
From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.
Members save on purchases from The Popcorn Factory®.
Members save from top retailers online at Everyday Savings Center powered by NextJump.
Members save 10% on all Amazon Kindle e-readers and the Kindle Fire HD tablet.
Get the most out of your AARP membership – opt-in to receive AARP emails today!
Register at a location near you to keep your driving skills sharp.
Find opportunities to volunteer in your neighborhood.
NASCAR champ Jeff Gordon teams up with AARP's Foundation.
AARP Foundation Prepaid MasterCard brought to you by Green Dot.
Nothing has been viewed