Elucidating the potential side effects of current anti-seizure drugs for epilepsy

Enes Akyüz, Betül Köklü, Cansu Ozenen, Alina Arulsamy, Mohd Farooq Shaikh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Over the decades, various interventions have been developed and utilized to treat epilep-sy. However, the majority of epileptic patients are often first prescribed anti-epileptic drugs (AED), now known as anti-seizure drugs (ASD), as the first line of defense to suppress their seizures and regain their quality of life. ASDs exert their anti-convulsant effects through various mechanisms of action, including regulation of ion channels, blocking glutamate-mediated stimulating neurotransmitter interaction, and enhancing the inhibitory GABA transmission. About one-third of epileptic patients are often resistant to anti-convulsant drugs, while others develop numerous side effects, which may lead to treatment discontinuation and further deterioration of quality of life. Common side effects of ASDs include headache, nausea and dizziness. However, more adverse effects, such as auditory and visual problems, skin problems, liver dysfunction, pancreatitis and kidney disorders may also be witnessed. Some ASDs may even result in life-threatening conditions as well as serious abnormalities, especially in patients with comorbidities and in pregnant women. Nevertheless, some clinicians had observed a reduction in the development of side effects post individualized ASD treatment. This suggests that a careful and well-informed ASD recommendation to patients may be crucial for an effective and side-effect-free control of their seizures. Therefore, this review aimed to elucidate the anticonvulsant effects of ASDs as well as their side effect profile by discussing their mechanism of action and reported adverse effects based on clinical and preclinical studies, thereby providing clinicians with a greater understanding of the safety of current ASDs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1865-1883
Number of pages19
JournalCurrent Neuropharmacology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Adverse effect
  • AED
  • Anticonvulsant
  • ASD
  • Comorbidity
  • Pharmacological treatment

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