The Anticonvulsants are the diverse group of the pharmacological agents used in the treatment of epileptic seizures. Anticonvulsants are also increasingly being used in the treatment of bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. They seem to act as mood stabilizers, and for the treatment of neuropathic pain. Anticonvulsants suppress the rapid and excessive firing of neurons during seizures. Anticonvulsants also prevent the spread of the seizure within the brain.
Anticonvulsants are more accurately termed as antiepileptic drugs and often referred to as antiseizure drugs because they provide symptomatic only and have not been demonstrated to alter the course of epilepsy. Epilepsy is a chronic disease resulting in repeated and unjustified seizures. Epileptic seizures are commonly invoked as convulsions. Anticonvulsants are mainly used for treatment of epileptic seizures.
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Anticonvulsant drugs are primarily developed for the treatment of epilepsy, a neurological condition that affects around the 50 million people worldwide. They reduce seizure frequency by suppressing neuronal excitability via various molecular targets in the synapse, including voltage-gated ion channels, voltage-gated GABAA (γ-aminobutyric acid type A) receptors and glutamate receptors.
Conventional antiepileptic drugs may block sodium channels or enhance γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) function. Several antiepileptic drugs have multiple or uncertain mechanisms of the action. Epileptic seizures are caused by the disturbance in the electrical activity of the brain. Anticonvulsants are also used in treatment of bipolar disorder and in neuropathic pain management. Some of the anticonvulsants have shown antiepileptogenic effects in animal models of epilepsy. They either prevent the development of epilepsy or can halt or reverse the progression of epilepsy.
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Epilepsy can affect people of any age group through brain injury, brain cancer, drug and alcohol misuse, and stroke.The common symptoms that occur before convulsions include visual loss, strange feelings, nausea, numbness in the body parts, also the headache and the racing thoughts. There is an increase in the awareness about the anticonvulsants available in the market. Patent expiration of many blockbuster drugs is one of the major factors driving the global anticonvulsants for use in epilepsy in the U.S by FDA.
The clinically important trends include issues of generic substitution of AEDs pharmacogenomics predicting serious adverse events in certain ethnic populations. The issue of the suicide risk involving the entire class of AEDs while high costs and unavailability of convenient dosage forms of both – generic and branded anticonvulsants are restraining the growth of novel therapies in the anticonvulsants market.
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