Nonepileptic Uses of Antiepileptic Drugs in Children and Adolescents

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36 Scopus citations


Antiepileptic drugs are often prescribed for nonepileptic neurologic and psychiatric conditions. The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved several antiepileptic drugs for the treatment of neuropathic pain, migraine, and mania in adults. For pediatric patients, use of antiepileptic drugs for non-seizure-related purposes is supported mainly by adult studies, open-label trials, and case reports. Summarized here is the published literature for or against the use of antiepileptic drugs for neuropathic pain, migraine, movement disorders, bipolar disorder, aggressive behavior, and pervasive developmental disorders in children and adolescents. Using the American Academy of Neurology's four-tiered classification scheme for a therapeutic article and translation to a recommendation rating, there are no nonepileptic disorders for which antiepileptic drugs have been established as effective for pediatric patients. Valproate and carbamazepine are "possibly effective" in the treatment of Sydenham chorea, and valproate is "probably effective" in decreasing aggressive behavior. Carbamazepine is "probably ineffective" in the treatment of aggression, and lamotrigine is "possibly ineffective" in improving the core symptom of pervasive developmental disorders. Despite the frequent use of antiepileptic drugs in the treatment of juvenile bipolar disorder, migraine, and neuropathic pain, the data are insufficient to make recommendations regarding the efficacy of antioepileptics in these conditions in children and adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-432
Number of pages12
JournalPediatric Neurology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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