Items in AFP with MESH term: Anticonvulsants

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Advances in the Treatment of Epilepsy - Article

ABSTRACT: Significant advances have been made in the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy over the past decade. With the advent of electroencephalographic video monitoring, physicians are now able to reliably differentiate epilepsy from other conditions that can mimic it, such as pseudoseizures. In addition, neuroimaging has changed the way treatment for difficult epilepsy is approached. As a result, the classification systems that have been in use since the early 1980s are currently being revised. A broader range of treatment options for epilepsy is now available. Many new antiepileptic drugs have become available in recent years, including felbamate, gabapentin, lamotrigine, topiramate, tiagabine, levetiracetam, oxcarbazepine and zonisamide. These medications offer options for patients with epilepsy whose seizures cannot be controlled using the classic agents. Several classic antiepileptic drugs have been modified and reformulated. The ketogenic diet has resurfaced as a treatment option in certain types of epilepsy. The vagus nerve stimulator, approved in 1997, represents a completely new treatment modality for patients with seizures not controlled by medications. Epilepsy surgery is now a well-documented and effective treatment for some patients with intractable epilepsy.


Medications in the Breast-Feeding Mother - Article

ABSTRACT: Prescribing medications for a breast-feeding mother requires weighing the benefits of medication use for the mother against the risk of not breast-feeding the infant or the potential risk of exposing the infant to medications. A drug that is safe for use during pregnancy may not be safe for the nursing infant. The transfer of medications into breast milk depends on a concentration gradient that allows passive diffusion of nonionized, non-protein-bound drugs. The infant's medication exposure can be limited by prescribing medications to the breast-feeding mother that are poorly absorbed orally, by avoiding breast-feeding during times of peak maternal serum drug concentration and by prescribing topical therapy when possible. Mothers of premature or otherwise compromised infants may require altered dosing to avoid drug accumulation and toxicity in these infants. The most accurate and up-to-date sources of information, including Internet resources and telephone consultations, should be used.


Epilepsy in Women - Article

ABSTRACT: Epilepsy in women raises special reproductive and general health concerns. Seizure frequency and severity may change at puberty, over the menstrual cycle, with pregnancy, and at menopause. Estrogen is known to increase the risk of seizures, while progesterone has an inhibitory effect. Many antiepileptic drugs induce liver enzymes and decrease oral contraceptive efficacy. Women with epilepsy also have lower fertility rates and are more likely to have anovulatory menstrual cycles, polycystic ovaries, and sexual dysfunction. Irregular menstrual cycles, hirsutism, acne, and obesity should prompt an evaluation for reproductive dysfunction. Children who are born to women with epilepsy are at greater risk of birth defects, in part related to maternal use of antiepileptic drugs. This risk is reduced by using a single antiepileptic drug at the lowest effective dose and by providing preconceptional folic acid supplementation. Breastfeeding is generally thought to be safe for women using antiepileptic medications.


Management of Status Epilepticus - Article

ABSTRACT: Status epilepticus is an increasingly recognized public health problem in the United States. Status epilepticus is associated with a high mortality rate that is largely contingent on the duration of the condition before initial treatment, the etiology of the condition, and the age of the patient. Treatment is evolving as new medications become available. Three new preparations--fosphenytoin, rectal diazepam, and parenteral valproate--have implications for the management of status epilepticus. However, randomized controlled trials show that benzodiazepines (in particular, diazepam and lorazepam) should be the initial drug therapy in patients with status epilepticus. Despite the paucity of clinical trials comparing medication regimens for acute seizures, there is broad consensus that immediate diagnosis and treatment are necessary to reduce the morbidity and mortality of this condition. Moreover, investigators have reported that status epilepticus often is not considered in patients with altered consciousness in the intensive care setting. In patients with persistent alteration of consciousness for which there is no clear etiology, physicians should be more quickly prepared to obtain electroencephalography to identify status epilepticus. Physicians should rely on a standardized protocol for management of status epilepticus to improve care for this neurologic emergency.


Medications for Migraine Prophylaxis - Article

ABSTRACT: Sufficient evidence and consensus exist to recommend propranolol, timolol, amitriptyline, divalproex, sodium valproate, and topiramate as first-line agents for migraine prevention. There is fair evidence of effectiveness with gabapentin and naproxen sodium. Botulinum toxin also has demonstrated fair effectiveness, but further studies are needed to define its role in migraine prevention. Limited evidence is available to support the use of candesartan, lisinopril, atenolol, metoprolol, nadolol, fluoxetine, magnesium, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), coenzyme Q10, and hormone therapy in migraine prevention. Data and expert opinion are mixed regarding some agents, such as verapamil and feverfew; these can be considered in migraine prevention when other medications cannot be used. Evidence supports the use of timed-release dihydroergotamine mesylate, but patients should be monitored closely for adverse effects.


Behavior Disorders of Dementia: Recognition and Treatment - Article

ABSTRACT: Psychosis may pose a greater challenge than cognitive decline for patients with dementia and their caregivers. The nature and frequency of psychotic symptoms varies over the course of illness, but in most patients, these symptoms occur more often in the later stages of disease. Management of psychosis requires a comprehensive nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic approach, including an accurate assessment of symptoms, awareness of the environment in which they occur, and identification of precipitants and how they affect patients and their caregivers. Nonpharmacologic interventions include counseling the caregiver about the nonintentional nature of the psychotic features and offering coping strategies. Approaches for the patient involve behavior modification; appropriate use of sensory intervention; environmental safety; and maintenance of routines such as providing meals, exercise, and sleep on a consistent basis. Pharmacologic treatments should be governed by a "start low, go slow" philosophy; a monosequential approach is recommended, in which a single agent is titrated until the targeted behavior is reduced, side effects become intolerable, or the maximal dosage is achieved. Atypical antipsychotics have the greatest effectiveness and are best tolerated. Second-line medications include typical antipsychotics for short-term therapy; and, less often, anticonvulsants, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, antidepressants, and anxiolytics. Goals of treatment should include symptom reduction and preservation of quality of life.


Evaluation and Treatment of the Child with Febrile Seizure - Article

ABSTRACT: Up to 5 percent of children in North America and western Europe experience at least one episode of febrile seizure before six years of age. Most of these seizures are self-limited and patients do not require treatment. Continuous therapy after the seizure is not effective in reducing the development of afebrile seizures. Antipyretics are effective in reducing the risk of febrile seizures if given early in the illness. Immediate care for the patient who has had a febrile seizure includes stopping the seizure, if prolonged, and evaluating the patient for the cause of the fever. Bacterial infections are treatable sources of fever but are not usually the cause of the fever that triggers a seizure. The patient must be assessed for these treatable sources. Long-term consequences of febrile seizure are rare in children who are otherwise healthy. Current recommendations do not support the use of continuing or intermittent neuroleptic or benzodiazepine suppressive therapies after a simple febrile seizure.


Evaluation of a First Seizure - Article

ABSTRACT: Seizure is a common presentation in the emergency care setting, and new-onset epilepsy is the most common cause of unprovoked seizures. The patient history and physical examination should direct the type and timing of laboratory and imaging studies. No single sign, symptom, or test dearly differentiates a seizure from a nonseizure event (e.g., syncope, pseudoseizure). Electroencephalography is recommended for patients presenting with a first seizure, and neuroimaging is recommended for adults. Neuroimaging also should be performed in children with risk factors such as head trauma, focal neurologic deficits, or a history of malignancy. Magnetic resonance imaging is preferred over computed tomography except when acute intracranial bleeding is suspected. The most common laboratory findings associated with a seizure are abnormal sodium and glucose levels. Patients with a normal neurologic examination, normal test results, and no structural brain disease do not require hospitalization or antiepileptic medications. Treatment with antiepileptic medications reduces the one- to two-year risk of recurrent seizures but does not reduce the long-term risk of recurrence and does not affect remission rates. Regardless of etiology, a seizure diagnosis severely limits a patient's driving privileges, although laws vary by state.


Effect of Antiepileptic Drugs on Oral Contraceptives - FPIN's Clinical Inquiries


Herpes Zoster and Postherpetic Neuralgia: Prevention and Management - Article

ABSTRACT: The recognizable appearance and the dermatomal distribution of herpes zoster lesions usually enable a clinical diagnosis to be made easily. Herpes zoster and postherpetic neuralgia occur mainly in older patients. The role of the varicella vaccine in preventing herpes zoster is uncertain, but is being studied. There is evidence to support using antiviral therapy and possibly low-dose tricyclic antidepressants to prevent postherpetic neuralgia. There is good evidence that treating herpes zoster with antiviral medication is beneficial, particularly in patients older than 50 years with severe outbreaks. The use of steroids has an unfavorable risk-benefit ratio. In patients who develop postherpetic neuralgia, there is good evidence to support treatment with gabapentin and tricyclic antidepressants. More evidence for treatment with capsaicin cream, lidocaine patch, and opioids is needed. Intrathecal methylprednisolone is an option for patients with persistent pain.


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