Anticonvulsant Medication Class
Essentially, anticonvulsants are used to normalize the electrical activity in the brain which in turn reduces the risk of seizures. But anticonvulsants have also been shown to work on mood disorders such as depression or mania. Anticonvulsants help increase the naturally occurring nerve calming chemical known as GABA while decreasing the nerve exciting chemical known as glutamate. Though use of anticonvulsants for mood disorders is considered an off label use of these drugs. These drugs have a direct influence upon the central nervous system. Some anticonvulsants are dangerous as they can have serious side effects such as liver damage from Valproic acid, especially when used on children. Other anticonvulsants have been known to cause aplastic anemia (the bone marrow stops producing blood cells). It is important to be under regular evaluation when taking certain anticonvulsants.
These drugs are used to control seizures and anxiety and work specifically on the central nervous system. Originally, anticonvulsants were used to treat insomnia as well. Many barbiturates are no longer prescribed because of their addictive qualities. Today, most barbiturates are used in general anesthesia, medical detox from benzodiazepinesand alcohol detox.
Another growing use of anticonvulsants has been the treatment of migraines. This class of drugs has been used to treat mania, depression, and bipolar disorders. While anticonvulsants are similar, they nonetheless each act differently on brain function and various neurotransmitters.
- Weight Gain
- Long term use leads to liver damage
- Nausea or vomiting
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