Items in AFP with MESH term: Anticonvulsants
ABSTRACT: The development of newer classes of antidepressants and second-generation antiepileptic drugs has created unprecedented opportunities for the treatment of chronic pain. These drugs modulate pain transmission by interacting with specific neurotransmitters and ion channels. The actions of antidepressants and antiepileptic drugs differ in neuropathic and non-neuropathic pain, and agents within each medication class have varying degrees of efficacy. Tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, nortriptyline, desipramine) and certain novel antidepressants (i.e., bupropion, venlafaxine, duloxetine) are effective in the treatment of neuropathic pain. The analgesic effect of these drugs is independent of their antidepressant effect and appears strongest in agents with mixed-receptor or predominantly noradrenergic activity, rather than serotoninergic activity. First-generation antiepileptic drugs (i.e., carbamazepine, phenytoin) and second-generation antiepileptic drugs (e.g., gabapentin, pregabalin) are effective in the treatment of neuropathic pain. The efficacy of antidepressants and antiepileptic drugs in the treatment of neuropathic pain is comparable; tolerability also is comparable, but safety and side effect profiles differ. Tricyclic antidepressants are the most cost-effective agents, but second-generation antiepileptic drugs are associated with fewer safety concerns in elderly patients. Tricyclic antidepressants have documented (although limited) efficacy in the treatment of fibromyalgia and chronic low back pain. Recent evidence suggests that duloxetine and pregabalin have modest efficacy in patients with fibromyalgia.
Seizure Disorders in the Elderly - Article
ABSTRACT: Seizure disorders become increasingly common after the age of 60 years and can have a significant impact on functional status. The goal of antiepileptic drug therapy is to control seizures but preserve quality of life. If possible, seizure control should be achieved with one agent given in the lowest effective dosage. Clinical response, rather than drug levels, should guide dosage changes. All antiepileptic drugs can cause dose-dependent sedation and cognitive impairment. Although the newer agents may have theoretical advantages over standard antiepileptic agents, higher cost may limit their use. Drugs for first-line monotherapy of seizures in elderly patients include carbamazepine, valproic acid, oxcarbazepine, gabapentin, and lamotrigine.
Responding to an In-flight Emergency - Curbside Consultation
Anticonvulsant Medications for Migraine Prevention - Cochrane for Clinicians
New-Onset Seizures - Photo Quiz
Antiepileptic Drug Level Monitoring - FPIN's Clinical Inquiries
ABSTRACT: Diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain affects the functionality, mood, and sleep patterns of approximately 10 to 20 percent of patients with diabetes mellitus. Treatment goals include restoring function and improving pain control. Patients can realistically expect a 30 to 50 percent reduction in discomfort with improved functionality. The main classes of agents used to treat diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain include tricyclic antidepressants, anticonvulsants, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, opiates and opiate-like substances, and topical medications. Physicians should ask patients whether they have tried complementary and alternative medicine therapies for their pain. Only two medications are approved specifically for the treatment of diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain: pregabalin and duloxetine. However, evidence supports the use of other therapies, and unless there are contraindications, tricyclic antidepressants are the first-line treatment. Because patients often have multiple comorbidities, physicians must consider potential adverse effects and possible drug interactions before prescribing a medication.
Usefulness of Measuring Antiepileptic Medication Blood Levels in Patients with Epilepsy - Cochrane for Clinicians
Management of Seizures and Epilepsy - Article
ABSTRACT: While the evaluation and treatment of patients with seizures or epilepsy is often challenging, modern therapy provides many patients with complete seizure control. After a first seizure, evaluation should focus on excluding an underlying neurologic or medical condition, assessing the relative risk of seizure recurrence and determining whether treatment is indicated. Successful management of patients with recurrent seizures begins with the establishment of an accurate diagnosis of epilepsy syndrome followed by treatment using an appropriate medication in a manner that optimizes efficacy. The goal of therapy is to completely control seizures without producing unacceptable medication side effects. Patients who do not achieve complete seizure control should be referred to an epilepsy specialist, since new medications and surgical treatments offer patients unprecedented options in seizure control.