Side Effects of Anti-seizure Medication

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Antiseizure medications can impact thinking and learning (cognition) either positively or negatively. Where medication successfully controls the seizures, the abnormal activity in the brain is reduced which can have a positive impact on the child’s ability to learn.

Sometimes medications may negatively affect learning ability. This can be related to the dose of the medication, how long the child has been taking the medication, the type of medication or combination of medications.

Some common unwanted side effects of antiseizure medications include:

  • Poor concentration, short term memory loss
  • Drowsiness, fatigue
  • Hyperactivity
  • Visual problems – blurred or double vision
  • Speech problems
  • Poor coordination and balance, dizziness and unsteadiness
  • Nausea, vomiting, weight gain or loss
  • Depression, aggressiveness, anti-social behaviours

The challenge is to control the seizures while not compromising the child’s learning. Sometimes this will be difficult. It is best to speak with your child’s neurologist about possible side effects, and if they are being experienced, and discuss alternative options for treatment.