MEDICINES FOR EPILEPSY
There are a lot of medicines used for epilepsy. Examples include phenytoin, sodium valproate, carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, gabapentin and pregabalin. These medicines are known as antiepileptics or anticonvulsants. Anticonvulsants can also be used to treat nerve pain, migraine and other types of chronic pain. As these medicines are taken every day, and often for the rest of the person’s life, it is important to know what can affect them.
ALCOHOL AND EPILEPSY MEDICINES
Alcohol makes you sleepier and slows your heart rate and so do epilepsy medicines. The combined effects of these make you more likely to have a seizure.
ANTACIDS AND EPILEPSY MEDICINES
Antacids such as Mylanta and Gaviscon can affect the ability of the body to absorb medicines. Antacids should be taken two hours away from most medicines for this reason.
FIBRE SUPPLEMENTS AND EPILEPSY MEDICINES
Fibre supplements containing psyllium such as Metamucil can reduce the effectiveness of epilepsy medicines. If you need to take a constipation medicine consult your Pharmacist for a suitable alternative based on the medications you take.
GRAPEFRUIT/GRAPEFRUIT JUICE AND EPILEPSY MEDICINES
The effect that grapefruit has on a lot of types of medicines is quite unpredictable meaning that it can sometimes increase or decrease the effects of other medicines and this effect is difficult to know beforehand. It is best to avoid grapefruit altogether when taking epilepsy medicines.
GINKGO BILOBA AND EPILEPSY MEDICINES
There is an increased risk of seizure for people taking the herb ginkgo biloba. For this reason it is best if epileptics do not take it.
VALERIAN AND EPILEPSY MEDICINES
Valerian is a herb that is often used to help people sleep. As valerian causes drowsiness and slows heart rate and breathing like epilepsy medicines do there is increased risk of seizure.
Consult your Pharmacist if you have any questions about how your medications may be affected by other medications, whether they be prescription or herbal, as well as foods.