At the very best, finding the right anti-epilepsy drug is a crap shoot. There’s always the hope that this one will do it. Or maybe adjunct therapy will work. Or, sigh, the side-effects derail you and you’re on to the next. Is asking for seizure control too much?
The good news is that many newer AEDs are better tolerated than the older, standard AEDs. Although they, too, come with side-effects.
Newer AEDs often cause less sedation and require less monitoring than older drugs. Although they are generally FDA-approved for use as add-ons to standard drugs that have failed to control seizures, they are often prescribed as single drugs.
Specific choices usually depend on your particular condition and the specific side-effects of the AED.
None has emerged as being superior to either standard or newer drugs. All appear to offer some benefits, however, as with standard anti-seizure drugs, they all come with side-effects of their own.
But, until a cure for epilepsy is discovered, medical treatment is the only game in town. Unless you go for surgery or some of the newer intervention techniques.
How many times have you had a prescription switched without your knowledge or permission?
Not just switched to a generic version of the prescribed drug, but to a different drug altogether.
Yet the practice of swapping out medications is perfectly legal in most states.
It’s called “therapeutic substitution” and it happens when a patient is switched from to a cheaper medication in the same class of drugs.
Common wisdom is that it’s best to take one anti-seizure medication. But for many of us, monotherapy just doesn’t work. However adjunct therapy has its dangers. And both treatments carry their own interactive risks – even with things as innocent as aspirin.
For example, some seizure medicines can lower or raise the levels of other types of medicines in your blood. Some combinations cause the levels of both medications to fall. Some cause one level to fall and one level to rise. And some cause unpredictable side- effects…
So I hunkered down to discover the unhappy marriages between anti-seizure meds. I’m sure there are many more, but it’s a start. And more than I knew before embarking on this research. Here’s what I discovered…
It’s a situation often mentioned but rarely understood – the effects electrolytes have on seizures.
But a simple blood test can detect the danger of unbalanced electrolytes…
They’re necessary but not necessarily nice. And every med has its own side-effects. Just as different people experience different difficulties. But here‘s the low-down on the possible side-effects. I hope you don’t have to suffer any of them. (Or as few as possible.)
Keppra (levetiracetam) — Well we all know about “Keppra Rage” but here, too, is a list of common side effects — dizziness; drowsiness; irritability; sore throat; tiredness; weakness. Not to mention abnormal thoughts, decreased coordination, extreme dizziness, drowsiness, tiredness, or weakness; hallucinations, memory loss, muscle or neck pain; new or worsening mental, mood, or behavior changes (eg, aggression, agitation, anger, anxiety, apathy, depression, hostility, irritability, panic attacks, restlessness); new or worsening seizures; suicidal thoughts or attempts.
Dilantin (phenytoin) – moderate cognitive problems, slurred speech, confusion, hallucinations, mood or behavior changes, hyperactivity (mentally or physically), unsteadiness, dizziness, fatigue, gum overgrowth, potential body/face hair growth, skin problems, bone problems (osteoporosis), suicide thoughts or attempts. Plus, Dilantin can cause a rare and dangerous rash called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.
Here’s the low-down on 27 more medications, in aphabetical order…
For people with epilepsy, Anti Epilepsy Drugs (AEDS) are the most common method used to control seizures. Although there are 40 different types of epilepsy, the right medication or combination of medications can usually control seizures. However 30% of people are drug resistant, owing to either their gene factors or biological makeup.
The most important consideration in your treatment is identifying the exact type of epilepsy you have, therefore you may want to consult more than one doctor.
Medications prescribed will also depend on factors such as which side effects you can actually tolerate, other illnesses you may have, and how the drug should be taken.
The case of prescription name-brand medicines vs. generics for those with epilepsy. Which is best?