Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) are the most common treatment for people living with epilepsy. This is often called ‘first line treatment’. Up to 70% of people living with epilepsy experience good seizure control through appropriate use of medication.
While AEDs will not cure epilepsy, they can help to control or minimise seizure activity. AEDs are a preventative medication taken daily in an attempt to stop seizures from occurring. Put simply, AEDs work to reduce the excessive electrical activity in the brain which causes seizures.
There are many different types of AEDs available, and sometimes it may take your doctor time to determine the best AED for you. If the use of one AED doesn’t provide you with an optimal outcome, your doctor may prescribe an alternative AED or a combination of different ones. Taking one AED is called ‘monotherapy’ and the use of a combination of medications is called ‘polytherapy’. The aim is to achieve optimal seizure control using the most appropriate medication with the fewest side effects.