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February 9, 1979

Use of Anticonvulsant Drugs

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, University of Virginia, and the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, Charlottesville, Va.

JAMA. 1979;241(6):607-609. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03290320045033

THE PAST decade has seen considerable changes in epilepsy management, to which the introduction of new anticonvulsant drugs has contributed. Unfortunately, the ideal drug, one that is long-acting, nonsedative, well-tolerated, useful against various types of seizures, and without a substantive effect on vital organs, while at the same time restoring the EEG to normal, does not exist.

Drugs that have been introduced into the therapy of epilepsy in recent years have tended to have more specific actions against particular seizure types, and this has necessitated a more accurate identification and classification of the epilepsies (Table).1 Thus, drugs useful against absence seizures are not useful in the treatment of complex partial seizures, which may closely mimic absence seizures, and this mandates the distinction between these different types of seizure phenomenons. The introduction of new drugs has been aided by the development of the science of biostatistics, resulting in improved study