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Contempo 1998
August 26, 1998

New Options for the Treatment of Epilepsy

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and The Neurological Institute at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, NY.

JAMA. 1998;280(8):693-694. doi:10.1001/jama.280.8.693

EPILEPSY is one of the most common neurologic disorders; it affects about 1% of the population in the United States and Canada.1 Despite treatment with traditional antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), more than 30% of patients with epilepsy either have inadequate seizure control or experience significant adverse drug effects. In the past 4 years, new options for the medical treatment of epilepsy have been introduced, including novel AEDs, improved formulations of older AEDs, and the vagus nerve stimulator (VNS). The new AEDs differ from older agents in several important ways, including mechanism of action, spectrum of activity, pharmacokinetics, and adverse effect profiles (Table 1).