Skip Navigation LinksHome > June 2013 - Volume 19 - Issue 3, Epilepsy > Antiepileptic Drug Treatment: New Drugs and New Strategies
CONTINUUM: Lifelong Learning in Neurology:
doi: 10.1212/01.CON.0000431380.21685.75
Review Articles

Antiepileptic Drug Treatment: New Drugs and New Strategies

French, Jacqueline A. MD, FAAN; Gazzola, Deana M. MD

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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.

© 2013 American Academy of Neurology


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