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Newer antiepileptic drugs: advantages and disadvantages

      Abstract

      The choice of an antiepileptic drug depends firstly on its efficacy in specific seizure types and epilepsies. However, it is imperative to consider whether possible adverse events will outweigh any benefits. The advantages and disadvantages of vigabatrin, lamotrigine, gabapentin, topiramate, tiagabine and felbamate are considered in some detail, and oxcarbazepine, stiripentol, remacemide, zonisamide and levetiracetam more briefly. Vigabatrin is effective for partial seizures and infantile spasms, but visual field defects are limiting its use. Lamotrigine has a wide spectrum, needs to be prescribed with care. Gabapentin is unlikely to cause adverse effects, but has relatively poor efficacy. Topiramate is widely effective, but can be poorly tolerated. Tiagabine is relatively untried in childhood epilepsies. The use of felbamate is restricted to severe refractory epilepsies. Stiripentol can be effective in severe myoclonic epilepsy in infancy. Zonisamide has a special place in the progressive myoclonus epilepsies. Levetiracetam, remacemide and oxcarbazepine have been used mainly for partial seizures: further studies of their roles in other circumstances are required.

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