Side Effects of Epilepsy Drugs
What are common epilepsy medication side effects?
Epilepsy medications, like any medication, can lead to a variety of side effects. Listed below are some of the possible drug and side effect combinations in common epilepsy medications:
Phenytoin (Dilantin): rash, tender/swollen gums, liver damage
Lamotrigine (Lamictal): rash, difficulty sleeping, mood changes
Lacosamide (Vimpat): dizziness, nausea, sleepiness
Carbamazepine (Tegretol): rash, low blood sodium levels, fatigue
Clobazam: drowsiness, balance issues, low mood If you are seeking more information, the Epilepsy Foundation is a great resource to refer to with detailed information on epilepsy medication side effects.
Can you avoid side effects when using epilepsy medications?
It might seem like lifelong side effects of epilepsy management is unavoidable.
Is this true? Maybe. But maybe not.
Unfortunately, current scientific advancements can’t really do much to change the fact that most individuals with epilepsy will require seizure-controlling medication for the rest of their lives. But, what we do know is that current scientific knowledge has equipped us with tools to eliminate the price of admission (read: side effects) to living a normal life in most cases.
Okay, fine. It’s just one tool. But it’s compelling, and it involves harnessing your DNA to predict response and tolerance to medications. It’s called pharmacogenetics. Maybe you’ve heard of it here. Maybe you’ve heard of it elsewhere. Maybe you haven’t heard of it at all.
How can pharmacogenetics help lessen side effects of epilepsy medications? Pharmacogenetics, although a powerful tool in healthcare, is actually a quite simple process.
It boils down to is this:
A sample is taken (usually through a swab of the cheek).
It’s sent to a lab.
(Ok fine – the sample is put through a mass spectrometer then talented scientists analyze the results. But it’s still pretty much magic.)
Finally, a report is generated and sent to you and/or your pharmacist and/or your doctor. It tells you what medications your healthcare provider might want to avoid. Maybe you’re susceptible to weird tingling sensations (i.e., “paresthesias”) or headaches or mood swings with topiramate (Topamax). The report insights can help guide your treatment plan and hopefully help you feel better, sooner. You are unique and your response to medication is too. A pharmacogenetics test will help ensure you are prescribed medications that are predicted to work best for you based on your DNA.
How can I get a pharmacogenetics test?
Unfortunately, pharmacogenetics isn’t mainstream. Yet. Healthcare providers in general are currently playing catch up with the science, but that doesn’t mean it’s not yet accessible to you and your healthcare team right now, and fortunately, it’s pretty easy for them to learn, interpret and implement into their respective practices.
Abracadabra! The future is here. You can order an Inagene Pharmacogenetics Test Today. To see if a medication you are currently taking is on our report, refer to our medication list.
Unlock the powerful insights of pharmacogenetics today.