New antiepileptic drugs. Overcoming the limitations of traditional therapy.

J. I. Sirven, J. D. Liporace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several new antiepileptic drugs have become available recently. Since seizures and epilepsy are common, primary care physicians are likely to encounter a patient who is taking one of these new medications. Successful medical management of epilepsy requires a proper understanding of medication half-life, indications, and side effects. Felbamate has a broad spectrum of efficacy but is limited by side effects and idiosyncratic reactions. Fosphenytoin has the efficacy of phenytoin and offers the advantage of intramuscular and intravenous dosing without the significant adverse effects associated with intravenous phenytoin; however, it is expensive. Gabapentin has minimal side effects and drug interactions yet has limited efficacy for seizures. Lamotrigine has broad seizure efficacy but requires a slow adjustment to therapeutic levels. Topiramate has minimal drug interactions, but therapy must be initiated slowly to avoid side effects. All of the new antiepileptics hold great promise in the management of patients with recurrent seizures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPostgraduate Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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