CNS Drugs

, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp 358–368 | Cite as

Cognitive Adverse Effects of Antiepileptic Drugs

Incidence, Mechanisms and Therapeutic Implications
  • Reetta Kälviäinen
  • Marja Äikiä
  • Paavo J. RiekkinenSr
Adverse Effects


Several early studies suggested that differences exist between antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in terms of their propensity to cause adverse effects on cognitive functions, favouring carbamazepine over phenobarbital (phenobarbitone), phenytoin and valproic acid (sodium valproate). The combined results of recent studies in patients and healthy volunteers reveal that at therapeutic serum concentrations phenobarbital, phenytoin, carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine and valproic acid produce nearly comparable adverse effects on higher cognitive functions.

The newer AEDs (with the exception of zonisamide and topiramate) appear to induced fewer cognitive adverse effects than the older agents. Furthermore, there is limited evidence that gabapentin, lamotrigine and vigabatrin may have beneficial effects on cognitive function. Some of the newer AEDs may also have neuroprotective effects that can prevent seizure-induced neuronal damage, and so reduce cognitive dysfunction. This is an important clinical consideration, as even modest differences between older and newer AEDs are relevant for patients.


Carbamazepine Valproic Acid Gabapentin Antiepileptic Drug Lamotrigine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reetta Kälviäinen
    • 1
  • Marja Äikiä
    • 1
  • Paavo J. RiekkinenSr
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyUniversity Hospital of KuopioKuopioFinland
  2. 2.A.I. Virtanen InstituteUniversity of KuopioKuopioFinland

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