The Prenatal Effects of AEDs:

Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) are the main form of treatment for people with epilepsy. It is believed that up to 70% of people with epilepsy could have their seizures completely controlled with AEDs. 


It can be a long process when finding the best level, and type of medication to control the seizures of the individual, so that one can get the very best out of AED’s in order to have a greater quality of life.The number of AED’s has greatly increased over the last twenty years, there are 26 AEDs used to treat seizures in the UK.  Different types of AEDs are more effective with the different types of epileptic seizures.

It is important that those that have to use AED’s find the right one that suits them. The development of anti-epileptic medicines is very much linked in with limiting side effects, just as much as seizure control. Unfortunately many people are still offered a very limited choice when they first receive AED’s, despite the many that are available today. It can be very challenging finding the right medication as one has to  measure the benefits with the side effects  of the medication upon them.


Before beginning to find the right medicine for you your neurologist has to access the type of epilepsy you have - as the medication you are prescribed depends upon the type of epilepsy you have. A person is likely to take their medication regularly over a number of years; during this time your neurologist will take into account the other health problems you may develop and medications you take, so as to make sure that there are no contraindications.


Most neurologists will begin with monotherapy, meaning that you will be using 1 drug at a time. AED’s are started at a low dose, which, if needed, will be slowly increased, until you find the most effective dosage for you as an individual. There are six first line drugs, the rest are known as second line drugs. If the first line drugs do not work then a second line drug may be prescribed to go with your first line AED.  This is called polytherapy, which means that you take more than one type of epilepsy medication. If you are still having seizures then your neurologist will reassess the type of epilepsy you have, before moving forward.


For up to date information on epilepsy use the link below to view the nice guidelines on epilepsy:




As AED’s are often the best way to control epilepsy, you should always consult your doctor should you want to try a different drug that might suit you better.

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