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Arch Neurol. 1988 Aug;45(8):892-4.

Carbamazepine and phenytoin. Comparison of cognitive effects in epileptic patients during monotherapy and withdrawal.

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  • 1Institute of Neurology, University of Bologna, Italy.


We compared the cognitive effects of carbamazepine and phenytoin with neuropsychological tests exploring intelligence, vigilance, attention, memory, and visuomotor performances in 25 epileptics (13 receiving carbamazepine and 12 receiving phenytoin) and 26 matched normal controls. Patients were seizure free for at least two years and taking prolonged monotherapy. We also evaluated the effects of drug withdrawal by retesting patients three months after reduction at half drug dose and three months and one year after complete withdrawal. Our findings suggest that phenytoin affects the cognitive functions more than carbamazepine does, although the negative effects of both drugs are reversible by complete therapy withdrawal.

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