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[Newer antiepileptic drugs].

  • Matsuura, Masato
Published Article
Nō to shinkei = Brain and nerve
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2007
PMID: 17315756


Ten newer antiepileptic drugs have been developed since 1990s. These drugs have wider therapeutic spectra, fewer side-effects, and lesser drug-to-drug interactions compared with the older typical antiepileptic drugs. Among them, zonisamide was developed in Japan and has been used from 1989. Gabapentin was at length approved in 2006. The other newer antiepileptic drugs are not approved yet in Japan. Felbamate can not be used in Europe because it may induce lethal hepatic toxicity and aplastic anemia. Vigabatrin is not approved in USA because it may induce permanent visual field deficit. The USA guideline for epilepsy treatment recommends that patients with newly diagnosed epilepsy can be treated with gabapentin, lamotrigine, topiramate, and oxcarbazepine. In contrast, based on epilepsy treatment guideline in England, newer antiepileptic drugs are considered only when patients with newly diagnosed epilepsy are unable to use the older antiepileptic drugs for some reasons. All newer antiepileptic drugs are used for intractable partial epilepsies, and lamotrigine and topiramate can also be used for idiopathic generalized epilepsies. The response rate (seizure reduction rate with 50% or more) and drop-out rate are overlapping among all newer antiepileptic drugs. Gabapentin, levetiracetam, and pregabalin are eliminated from kidney, and they had no drug-to-drug interactions and can be titrated rapidly. The serum concentration of lamotrigine is decreased with co-administration of hepatic enzyme inducing drugs and is increased with co-administration of valproic acid. Hypersensitivity reactions are rare with gavapentin, levetiracetam, topiramate, and tiagabin. Psychoses are reported to be induced with zonisamide, however, they can be induced with the other newer drugs (topiramate, levetiracetam, etc.). Drug-induced psychiatric symptoms, especially depression, may be often underdiagnosed. Many of these newer drugs (gabapentine, lamotrigine, levetiracetam, oxycarbazepine, etc.) have effects on chronic neuropathic pain. Some newer drugs show mood stabilizing effects (lamotrigine, oxycarbazepine, etc.), or antianxiety effect (gabapentin, topiramate, levetiracetam, pregavalin, etc.). Wide range of action to central nervous system of these newer antiepileptic drugs may serve not only for clinical seizure suppression, but also for neuroprotection.

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