Purpose of Review: Selection of the ideal antiepileptic drug (AED) for an individual patient can be a daunting process. Choice of treatment should be based on several factors, including but not limited to epilepsy classification, AED mechanism of action, AED side-effect profile, and drug interactions. Special consideration must be given to populations such as women, older adults, patients with other medical comorbidities, and patients who are newly diagnosed.
Recent Findings: Head-to-head trials between AEDs in newly diagnosed patients rarely demonstrate that one AED is more or less effective. The second-generation drugs, lamotrigine, topiramate, oxcarbazepine, zonisamide, and levetiracetam, have undergone head-to-head trials confirming similar efficacy and equal or better tolerability than standard drugs in focal epilepsy.
Summary: A thoughtful approach to the AED selection process must factor in data from clinical AED trials as well as a variety of patient characteristics and confounding factors. When neurologists apply an individualized approach to AED drug selection for their patients, they can find an effective and well-tolerated drug for most patients.