School of Medicine

Epilepsy Center

Treatment - Medications


There are a large number of medications now available for treating epilepsy. Some of these medications are known to be effective for certain seizure types or certain epilepsy syndromes. For example, Zarontin is usually very effective against absence seizures but will not have any effect against grand mal (tonic-clonic) seizures. They all have potential side effects, some of which are very specific. Moreover, many of the antiepileptic drugs interact with each other. For example, if someone is taking Depakote and they start taking Lamictal, the blood level of Lamictal will be almost twice as high as it would if they were not also taking Depakote. All of these considerations come into play when medicine decisions are being made. In general, the only way to find out if a medication is helpful is to keep a seizure diary in which all seizures are entered along with the time of occurrence and nature of the seizure. Women should also note the time of onset and cessation of menstrual periods in the diary because many (nearly 70%) will find that their seizures are more likely to occur at that time. Without keeping a seizure diary it is usually impossible to tell if seizure reductions of 10 to 40% are occurring.

Medications Currently Used for Epilepsy in the USA

Ativan Lamictal
 Celontin  Lyrica
Cerebyx   Mebaral
 Carbatrol  Mysoline
 Depacon Neurontin 
 Depakote  Phenobarbital
 Diamox Sabril 
 Diastat  Tegretol
 Dilantin  Topomax
 Felbatol  Tranxene
 Gabitril  Trileptal
 Keppra  Zarontin
 Klonopin  Zonegran