Antiepileptic drugs in pediatric practice

Epilepsia. 1995:36 Suppl 2:S34-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1157.1995.tb05998.x.


Several factors characterize the current medical treatment of epilepsy during childhood. Children do not present the same types of seizures or epilepsies as adults, and certain epilepsy syndromes are seen only during childhood. Accordingly, the choice of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) may differ in children. In addition, certain medical therapies, such as ACTH or pyridoxine, are used only in children. It is also common practice to prescribe AEDs in children for indications that are "off-label," such as the treatment of partial-onset seizures with carbamazepine before the age of 6 years. The natural history of epilepsy and the risk for seizure recurrence may be different in the pediatric age range, and this may influence the decision to institute chronic prophylactic therapy in children. Similar considerations may apply to the decision to discontinue AED therapy. The pharmacokinetics of several AEDs are age-dependent, and dosages are more variable among patients. The adverse effects of AEDs may be age-dependent, and the pattern of exacerbation of certain seizures by AEDs may be different in children. In addition, several new AEDs are now available, or are about to be released, and the preferential sequence of AEDs of choice in children with epilepsy will need to be reassessed as experience grows and as the results of comparative studies become available.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Anticonvulsants / administration & dosage
  • Anticonvulsants / pharmacokinetics
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy*
  • Epilepsy / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anticonvulsants