Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Many medications can effectively eliminate absence seizures or reduce the number. Finding the right medication and dosage can be challenging, requiring a period of trial and error. Taking the medications on a regular schedule is crucial to maintaining proper drug levels in the blood.

Often, the first drug prescribed for absence seizures is ethosuximide (Zarontin). However, other medications, such as valproic acid (Depakene, Stavzor) and lamotrigine (Lamictal), also are effective at controlling seizures. Your doctor likely will start at the lowest dose possible and increase the dosage as needed to control the seizures. Most children can discontinue anti-seizure medications, under a doctor's supervision, after they've been seizure-free for two years.

The drug Lamictal has been linked to an increased risk of aseptic meningitis, an inflammation of the protective membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord that's similar to bacterial meningitis.

Women who need treatment for absence seizures are advised against using valproic acid while trying to conceive or during pregnancy, because the drug has been associated with higher risk of birth defects in babies. Women who can't achieve seizure control on any other medication need to discuss potential risks with their doctors.

Jun. 23, 2011