Behavioural and cognitive effects of anti-epileptic drugs

Andrea Cavanna, F Ali, Hugh Rickards, Dougall McCorry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)


Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) have a variety of mechanisms of action which are reflected through different anticonvulsant activities and behavioral effects. Two categories of AEDs are considered based on psychotropic profile. The first group is characterized by potentiation of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) inhibitory neurotransmission, and comprises of agents such as vigabatrin, tiagabine, and gabapentin. These agents are noted to have sedating effects ranging from cognitive slowing to anti-manic effects. On the other hand, the second group is typified by attenuation of glutamate excitatory neurotransmission and has activating effects including anxiogenic and antidepressant actions. Lamotrigine and felbamate feature in this latter group. Mechanisms of action, chief clinical indications, as well as behavioral profile including comment on chief cognitive effects of the newer AEDs are reviewed in accordance with this dual categorization. In clinical practice, assessment of an individual patient alongside consideration of AED behavioral profile primes for appropriate prescription according to patient mood profile, also permitting exposure of AED-induced behavioral disturbance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-144
Number of pages7
JournalDiscovery medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


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