With the introduction of over ten new antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) since 1993, the hope has been that at least some of these agents would be useful for not just partial seizures, but also for the primary generalized seizures of the idiopathic generalized epilepsies (IGE). The development of evidence-based treatment guidelines in the IGE, however, faces a number of challenges, particularly after an antiepileptic drug (AED) receives approval for one indication. The majority of patients with IGE are controlled with first-line therapy if appropriately selected. Case reports or series typically appear with use in refractory patients, but these studies lack the rigor to allow formulation of guidelines. Still we are beginning to see some good class I and II data to support use of selected second-generation AEDs. It is postulated that lamotrigine (LTG), levetiracetam (LEV), topiramate (TPM), and zonisamide (ZSM) may have efficacy for a broad spectrum of seizure types including those of IGE. At the present time good class I and II evidence exists to support the use of LTG for typical absence, LEV for idiopathic myoclonic seizures, and TPM for primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures, even though only TPM has FDA approval for primary generalized seizures. This article examines the available rigorous evidence that can support these uses and also discusses some selected other reports that suggest a spectrum of efficacy for these new agents.
- Antiepileptic drugs
- Idiopathic generalized epilepsy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology