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From The MS Information Sourcebook, produced by the National MS Society.

Anticonvulsants are medications that are designed to prevent convulsions and other types of seizures. Seizures occur in 3% to 5% of people with MS, which is somewhat higher than the incidence of epilepsy in the general population. Seizures may occur as part of the disease but may also be related to infection, fever, or abrupt cessation of certain medications.

May Be Used to Treat Pain
In addition to controlling seizures, several anticonvulsants may be used to treat some types of pain in MS. Carbamazepine (Tegretol®), phenytoin (Dilantin®), gabapentin (Neurontin®), and duloxetine hydrochloride (Cymbalta®), among others, are used in the management of pain that results when nerve impulses cross from one fiber tract to another (like an electrical "short circuit"). Trigeminal neuralgia-a stabbing facial pain that may occur in MS-is most often treated with carbamazepine.

Side Effects Should Be Monitored
People who are taking these agents should be monitored by their physicians. Side effects can include dizziness, loss of balance, nausea, excessive gum growth and inflammation, and blood abnormalities.

See also...



Society Web Resources

Clinical Bulletin for Healthcare Professionals




Last updated April 2006