What is Anticonvulsant Drugs?

Anticonvulsants are used to reduce or completely eliminate muscle cramps, as well as epilepsy attacks. These agents can be used for seizures that have a different nature of origin. If a person is often concerned about such manifestations, this is one of the first reasons why they need to see a doctor. Such manifestations can talk about the development of serious diseases both on the basis of the nervous system and in other organs.

Various drugs can have an anticonvulsant effect, which can weaken the processes of excitation or enhance the processes of inhibition in the CNS (barbiturates, bromides, tranquilizers of different groups, etc.), but their effect often extends to other organs and systems. However, a number of drugs are able to selectively suppress convulsive reactions and not have a general inhibitory effect.

The nature of the convulses or spasms is in the inappropriate function of the nerve cells, i.e. their enhanced level of electric impulses. The potential reason for such “behavior” could be:

  • stroke;
  • genetic causes;
  • metabolic problems;
  • toxicity issues.

What is the principle of action of anticonvulsant medication?

The mechanism of action of anticonvulsants is based on their ability to inhibit the transmission of an excitation pulse in the synapses of the motor zones of the brain, increase the threshold of excitability of these zones and slow down the time of motor reactions, increase the concentration of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is the main inhibitory mediator in the central nervous system . Anticonvulsants include synthetic compounds of various chemical groups.

What diseases are treated by AEDs?

Anticonvulsant medications are used for epilepsy, leg cramps, neuralgia, brain tumor, migraine, bipolar disorder, stroke, neuropathic pain, and even menopause. The action of these drugs is to achieve the following effects:

  • Elimination of muscle spasm;
  • Removing the pain of the patient with convulsions;
  • Prevention of seizures;
  • The central nervous system of a person should not be suppressed and oppressed.

The type of drug and its dosage are prescribed by the doctor individually for each patient. The selection of antiepileptics is influenced by such factors as the localization of seizures, the patient’s age, the degree of development of the disease, and the possibility of hypersensitivity to the main actual substance.

The target of anticonvulsant drugs is to prevent seizures while maintaining the activity of the nervous system. Medication treatment lasts until complete recovery, or all patient’s life (in the case of a chronic form and genetically caused diseases).

Anticonvulsants (antiepileptics or AEDs), the classification of which is based on the chemical structure, have different mechanisms of action. The action of various groups of drugs is based on the following effects:

  • effect on receptors for gamma-aminobutyric acid, benzodiazepine receptors; suppression of the action of excitatory acids (glutamate, aspartate);
  • blocking nerve impulses by acting on potassium and sodium channels;
  • antiseizure effect.

What kinds of anticonvulsant drugs exist?

The following types of anticonvulsants are distinguished:

  • Barbiturates;
  • Hydantoin derivatives;
  • Oxazolidinones;
  • Benzodiazepines;
  • Immunostilbenes;
  • Other.

One of the frequently used anticonvulsant medications is Clonazepam. The effects are calming, muscle-relaxing, anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and anticonvulsant. The anticonvulsant effect is more pronounced in clonazepam than in other drugs of this group, and therefore it is used mainly for the treatment of convulsive conditions. In patients with epilepsy taking clonazepam, seizures occur less frequently and their intensity decreases.

The anticonvulsant medication is used in children and adults with small and large forms of epilepsy with seizure disorders (twitching of individual muscle bundles), with psychomotor crises, and increased muscle tone. Also, it is used as sleeping pills, especially in patients with organic, brain damage and to prevent mood swings in bipolar disorder.

What are the general negative effects of the anticonvulsant medication?

Among the drug-induced side effects, the most typical are the following:

  • dizziness;
  • allergic reactions;
  • uncertainty “staggering” when moving;
  • nausea up to vomiting;
  • diarrhea;
  • skin rash;
  • headache;
  • the development of anemia;
  • apathy;
  • drowsiness;
  • bifurcation in the eyes.

Taking certain anticonvulsant medications can also cause respiratory depression.


The website’s articles are for informational and educational purposes only. Never self-medicate or neglect visits and regular consultations with your healthcare provider. Only a qualified specialist can correctly diagnose the disease and choose the appropriate treatment method and a suitable drug. The site administration in no way encourages you to use the material presented here as a substitute for this. Our platform does not specialize in the diagnosis and selection of drugs and it is not responsible for the health and well-being of its users.

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