Carbamazepine-exacerbated epilepsy in children and adolescents

Pediatr Neurol. Nov-Dec 1986;2(6):340-5. doi: 10.1016/0887-8994(86)90074-3.


Forty-nine children and adolescents whose seizures reportedly worsened while receiving carbamazepine (CBZ) were studied retrospectively. Twenty-six patients met criteria for excellent documentation of carbamazepine-exacerbated seizures. Four epileptic syndromes were particularly affected: childhood absence epilepsy; focal symptomatic, frontal lobe epilepsy; Lennox-Gastaut syndrome; and severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy. Eight of the 26 patients developed new-onset absence seizures and three patients with established absence epilepsy experienced absence status. Other seizure types, including atonic, tonic-clonic, and myoclonic, developed in eight patients treated with CBZ, and new generalized spike-and-wave discharges were observed in electroencephalograms of nine patients. CBZ is a widely used, effective antiepileptic drug, particularly for partial or partial complex seizures; however, if uncontrolled, generalized seizures occur after CBZ is prescribed for children or adolescents with absence or mixed seizures, a trial of CBZ discontinuation is warranted. The data reported here do not permit calculation of the incidence of this phenomenon.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Carbamazepine / administration & dosage
  • Carbamazepine / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Epilepsy / chemically induced*
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Evoked Potentials / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male


  • Carbamazepine