Antiepileptic drug-induced cognitive adverse effects: potential mechanisms and contributing factors.

CNS Drugs
Marco Mula, M R Trimble


Cognitive dysfunction is frequently observed in patients with epilepsy and represents an important challenge in the management of patients with this disorder. In this respect, the relative contribution of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) is of relevance. The fact that a considerable number of patients require AED therapy for many years, or perhaps even a lifetime, emphasizes the need to focus on the long-term adverse effects of these drugs on cognition. The most prevalent of the CNS adverse effects observed during AED therapy are sedation, somnolence, distractibility, insomnia and dizziness. Sedation, in particular, is associated with most of the commonly used AED therapies. Nevertheless, cognitive function in individuals with epilepsy may also be influenced by several factors, of which AEDs constitute only one of many putative causes. In general terms, most studies agree that some differences exist among the older AEDs with regard to the effects on cognition, and some newer generation molecules may have a better cognitive profile than older AEDs. The mechanisms of action are an obvious determinant; however, there is still a lack of evidence for differentiation between available drugs with regard to cognitive effects. Some authors ha...Continue Reading


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