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Anti-convulsant Drugs

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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 disorder.

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 body.

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.

Side Effects

Most drugs have dose-related side effects. Some patients tolerate bigger doses than others, but most medications cause dizziness and sleepiness at larger doses.

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