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In medicine, anticonvulsants are medications "used to prevent seizures or reduce their severity."[1] A number of the drugs have additional applications in pain management or in psychiatry.

Pharmacologic classes

There are three main mechanisms of action:[2]

  1. Limiting the sustained firing of neurons, by promoting the inactive state of voltage-gated sodium channels
  2. Enhanicing the effectiveness of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) mediation of synaptic inhibition
  3. Limiting action of a specific voltage-gated calcium channel

Adverse effects

Anticonvulsants may increase risk of suicide.[3]


  1. Anonymous (2023), Anticonvulsant (English). Medical Subject Headings. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  2. James O. McNamara (1996), Chapter 20, Drugs Effective in the Therapy of the Epilepsies, in JG Hardman et al., Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics (Ninth Edition ed.), McGraw-Hill, p. 461
  3. Patorno, Elisabetta; Rhonda L. Bohn, Peter M. Wahl, Jerry Avorn, Amanda R. Patrick, Jun Liu, Sebastian Schneeweiss (2010-04-14). "Anticonvulsant Medications and the Risk of Suicide, Attempted Suicide, or Violent Death". JAMA 303 (14): 1401-1409. DOI:10.1001/jama.2010.410. Retrieved on 2010-04-14. Research Blogging.