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list of anti-epileptic drugs

Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) are the main form of treatment for people with epilepsy. And up to 70% (7 in 10) people with epilepsy could have their seizures completely controlled with AEDs. There are around 25 AEDs used to treat seizures, and different AEDs work for different seizures. Here we list the different AEDs and link to information about what type of seizures they are used for, doses, and possible side effects from either the British National Formulary (BNF), British National Formulary for Children (BNFC), the electronic Medicines Compendium (eMC) or the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) clinical guideline for epilepsy (CG137). NICE is an independent organisation that provides national guidance to improve health and social care services in England.

   
Click on the links below to search for information about AEDs:

  • by the generic name of the AED
  • by the brand name of the particular type of AED or
  • by the type of seizure or seizures you have.

Generic names with brand names

Seizure types 

You can find information about which types of seizures different AEDs are used for by following these links to either the NICE guideline, the BNF or, for children the BNFC.

Please note:

  • Valproate: Sodium valproate and Valproic acid must not be used in females of childbearing potential unless the conditions of the Pregnancy Prevention Programme are met and alternative treatments are ineffective or not tolerated. During pregnancy, it must not be used for epilepsy unless it is the only possible treatment.

  • For information on doses and side effects click on the AED name above and this will take you to the electronic Medicines Compendium(eMC), British National Formulary (BNF) or British National Formulary for Children (BNFC)where you can view the patient information leaflet (PIL).

  • A first line AED is an AED that is tried first. Some AEDs added to a first line AED are called second line AEDs.

  • AEDs are not split into first and second line for treating children age 12 and under. 

  • Treatment of neonatal seizures (from birth to 28 days of age) is not covered.

  • ‘Effective’ means the seizures it works for. ‘Monotherapy’ means the AED is taken on its own. ‘Adjunctive' or 'Add-on therapy’ means the AED is taken alongside other AEDs. ‘Tolerance’ means that a drug becomes less effective the longer you take it. A 'tertiary epilepsy specialist' is a speciailst with particular expertise and training in epilepsy. 'idiopathic epilepsy' is where someone's epilepsy is genetic or inherited.

  • Information for this page comes from sources including the British National Formulary (BNF), the British National Formulary for children (BNFC) and the electronic Medicines Compendium (eMC). 

  • Every effort is made to ensure that all information is correct at time of publishing but information may change after publishing. This information is a guide only and is not a substitute for advice from your doctor. Epilepsy Society is not responsible for any actions taken as a result of using this information.