Specific safety and tolerability considerations in the use of anticonvulsant medications in children

Amy Z. Crepeau, Brian D. Moseley, Elaine C. Wirrell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders in the pediatric age range, and the majority of affected children can be safely and effectively treated with antiepileptic medication. While there are many antiepileptic agents on the market, specific drugs may be more efficacious for certain seizure types or electroclinical syndromes. Furthermore, certain adverse effects are more common with specific classes of medication. Additionally patient-specific factors, such as age, race, other medical conditions, or concurrent medication use may result in higher rates of side effects or altered efficacy. Significant developmental changes in gastric absorption, protein binding, hepatic metabolism, and renal clearance are seen over the pediatric age range, which impact pharmacokinetics. Such changes must be considered to determine optimal dosing and dosing intervals for children at specific ages. Furthermore, approximately one third of children require polytherapy for seizure control, and many more take concurrent medications for other conditions. In such children, drug-drug interactions must be considered to minimize adverse effects and improve efficacy. This review will address issues of antiepileptic drug efficacy, tolerability and ease of use, pharmacokinetics, and drug-drug interactions in the pediatric age range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-54
Number of pages16
JournalDrug, Healthcare and Patient Safety
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012


  • Antiepileptic drugs
  • Drug-drug interactions
  • Pharmacokinetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Health Policy


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