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Pain Pract. 2004 Sep;4(3):194-203.

Side effects of antiepileptics--a review.

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Comprehensive Pain Centers, Allentown, Pennsylvania 18104, USA.


Older generation antiepileptic drugs like Phenobarbital (Luminal), carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenytoin (Dilantin), and valproic acid (Depakote) have several shortcomings such as suboptimal response rates, significant adverse effects, several drug interactions, and a narrow therapeutic index. New antiepileptic drugs have been developed in the last decade to overcome some of these problems. These newer generation antiepileptics like felbamate (Felbatol), gabapentin (Neurontin), lamotrigine (Lamictal), levetiracetam (Keppra), oxcarbazepine (Trileptal), tiagabine (Gabitril), topiramate (Topamax), and zonisamide (Zonegran) have better tolerability profiles, low interaction potential, and significantly less enzyme inducing or inhibiting properties. As the use of antiepileptic drugs has expanded to include treatment of neuropathic pain, newer side effects have been reported. In addition to the common side effects of antiepileptic drugs, like dizziness, drowsiness, and mental slowing; other side effects like weight gain, metabolic acidosis, nephrolithiasis, angle closure glaucoma, skin rash, hepatotoxicity, colitis, and movement and behavioral disorders, to name a few, have been brought to our attention. This review is an attempt to highlight the features and incidences of some of these side effects.

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