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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1990 Apr;68(4):545-7.

Potassium currents in rat cortical neurons in culture are enhanced by the antiepileptic drug carbamazepine.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale o Scienze Biochimiche, Universit√† di Roma Tor Vergata, Italy.


We report that carbamazepine (Tegretol), a drug that is useful for the treatment of complex partial seizures, enhances outward, voltage-dependent K+ currents generated by rat neocortical cells in culture and recorded with patch-clamping techniques. This effect is seen in the presence of therapeutic concentrations of carbamazepine (10-20 microM). Furthermore, at these doses carbamazepine does not influence voltage-dependent inward Na+ and Ca2+ currents recorded in these cells. The action exerted by carbamazepine on K+ currents is a novel finding and might represent an important mechanism for controlling neocortical excitability and thus the generation of epileptiform activity.

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