Anti-Convulsants May Be Used to Prevent Seizures

There are dozens of anti-convulsant medications, also called anti-seizure medications or anti-epileptic medications. Seizures happen when the brain’s electrical activity gets out of control.  The person can have partial seizures in which a part of the body twitches with the rest of the body being normal.  In a complete seizure or generalized seizure, the individual becomes unconscious and the body jerks and twitches.  The patient may have a loss of bladder or bowel control with this type of seizure.  In absence seizures (pronounced ab-sawns), the patient zones out and is not able to respond to you until the seizure is over. There is usually no abnormal motor activity like twitching or jerking of the body.
Seizure medication comes in four types: (1) those that prevent generalized seizures; (2) those that prevent partial seizures; those that prevent absence seizures (3), and (4) those that treat active seizures so they stop.  The last group of medications is used to treat a serious condition called status epilepticus.  This happens when the seizure does not stop and the patient continues to have an active generalized seizure for several minutes to hours.
Seizures have many causes.  They can be congenital (meaning you are born with the propensity for seizures). Seizures can be secondary to head trauma such as concussions or more serious brain trauma. They can be due to an infection of the brain or to drug toxicity.  Occasionally, someone will have seizure activity when they faint.
There are several types of seizure medications.  These are as follows:
Carbamazepine.  This comes as a brand name of Tegretol®.  It is used to treat all types of seizures and, in some cases, it is used to treat symptoms of bipolar disorder. It comes in a long-acting form called Carbamazepine XR, Tegretol XR, or Carbatrol.
Clonazepam.  The brand name is known as Klonopin®.  It can be used to stop seizures that are actively happening.  It is fairly long-acting so it can be used to prevent seizures as well.  It is especially good for treating absence seizures.
Diazepam.  This carries the brand name of Valium®.  It is used to stop active seizures. It is used for all types of seizures, and for diseases like panic attacks and severe anxiety.  It is fairly long-acting so it can be used to prevent seizures from happening.
Divalproex Sodium.  This comes as a brand name of Depakote. It is used to treat partial seizures as well as absence seizures. In psychiatry, it can be used as a mood stabilizer in bipolar disorder.  It comes with an extended release medication called Depakote ER.
Gabapentin.  This is an anti-seizure medication used to treat different types of partial seizures.  It has multiple other uses, such as for diabetic neuropathy or certain pain disorders.
Lorazepam.  This is also known as Ativan®.  It is particularly good when it comes to stopping seizures that are already happening.  It is sedating but is relatively short-acting.
Phenobarbital. It is an old medicine that is effective in treating all types of seizures.  It is very long acting so that it can be taken just once a day.  It is especially used for children with seizures but can be sedating.
Phenytoin.  This is also called Dilantin®.  It is used to treat all types of seizures and is very commonly used for seizures.
Valproic acid.  Also called Depakene®.  It is used for all types of seizures as well as for management of bipolar disorder and mood disorders.
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