Cognition across the lifespan: antiepileptic drugs, epilepsy, or both?

Epilepsy Behav. 2010 Jan;17(1):1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2009.10.019.


Cognitive problems in persons with epilepsy manifest over a lifetime; however, whether abnormal cognition in an individual with epilepsy is a result of comorbid brain substrate, the epilepsy itself or its underlying etiology, the antiepileptic agents used to control it, or a combination of these and other factors remains controversial. There is a continuing need for improved therapies to control seizures and reduce the incidence of adverse events, especially those involving the central nervous system that compromise attention, intelligence, language skills, verbal and nonverbal memory, executive function, and psychomotor speeds. Although cognitive decline typically occurs among patients with more severe epilepsy, physicians must judiciously select therapy with an eye toward not only controlling seizures but also ensuring that all patients retain as much function as possible throughout their lives.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects
  • Anticonvulsants / pharmacology
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Attention / drug effects
  • Cognition Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Epilepsy / complications
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy*
  • Executive Function / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Intelligence / drug effects
  • Language
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Verbal Learning / drug effects


  • Anticonvulsants