What Are Potential Anticonvulsant Side Effects?

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers

Anticonvulsants often are effective in managing epilepsy and bipolar disorder but, like many drugs, they often come with side effects. Some of the most common anticonvulsant side effects are rather minor and temporary. Such issues can affect both the body and the mind, though, so any side effects should be mentioned to a doctor if they make life harder than it has to be. Some anticonvulsant side effects, such as seizures and liver damage, are serious enough to warrant immediate medical treatment.

Many anticonvulsant side effects can cause discomfort and, while they may not be considered dangerous, they should be mentioned to a doctor. For example, this type of drug can affect the digestive system, because nausea, vomiting and constipation are rather common. Some people also feel dizzy or drowsy when taking anticonvulsants, because one of the ways this medication works is by making people less alert than usual. Other changes that some people notice in their body include skin rashes, uncontrolled eye movements and blurry vision. In many cases, these mild anticonvulsant side effects should go away as the body gets used to the drug.

Some people notice personality changes while taking this medication. For instance, one anticonvulsant side effect that has been reported is dementia, and some people also observe delusions. For some, the libido is noticeably decreased when taking this drug, which may not be surprising given that anxiety is another potential anticonvulsant side effect for some. In addition, younger patients taking this drug are more likely than adults to experience mood swings as a result of taking anticonvulsants, making them seem overemotional to others. Any personality changes should be reported to a doctor, though they usually are not considered serious unless they are severe and long-term.

There are some anticonvulsant side effects that call for immediate medical help, because they can be quite dangerous. The most common serious side effect of this drug is liver damage, which usually only occurs after taking this drug for a long period of time. Though most doctors monitor patients regularly for this kind of damage, those who take anticonvulsants should know the common signs of liver dysfunction, such as yellowed eyes or skin, appetite loss and swelling of the face. In addition, patients should know it is possible to increase seizures with this drug, even though it often is prescribed to reduce seizures in those who have epilepsy.

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