Seizure Disorders and the Effects of Antiepileptic Medications on Cognitive-Communicative Function Purpose Review effects of epilepsy and its treatment on cognitive-communicative function. Method We searched PubMed and extracted relevant information. Results Epilepsy is a disorder characterized by recurrent unprovoked seizures. Epilepsy is commonly associated with cognitive disturbances in between seizures, most commonly memory dysfunction. Other cognitive disturbances ... Article
Article  |   April 01, 2015
Seizure Disorders and the Effects of Antiepileptic Medications on Cognitive-Communicative Function
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Bassel Abou-Khalil
    Department of Neurology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Rima Abou-Khalil
    Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Financial Disclosure: Bassel Abou-Khalil is professor of Neurology and director of Epilepsy Division at Vanderbilt University. Rima Abou-Khalil is clinical assistant professor at Vanderbilt University.
    Financial Disclosure: Bassel Abou-Khalil is professor of Neurology and director of Epilepsy Division at Vanderbilt University. Rima Abou-Khalil is clinical assistant professor at Vanderbilt University.×
  • Nonfinancial Disclosure: Bassel Abou-Khalil has previously published in the subject area. Rima Abou-Khalil has previously published in the subject area.
    Nonfinancial Disclosure: Bassel Abou-Khalil has previously published in the subject area. Rima Abou-Khalil has previously published in the subject area.×
Article Information
Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Articles
Article   |   April 01, 2015
Seizure Disorders and the Effects of Antiepileptic Medications on Cognitive-Communicative Function
SIG 2 Perspectives on Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders, April 2015, Vol. 25, 47-60. doi:10.1044/nnsld25.2.47
History: Received January 24, 2015 , Revised March 9, 2015 , Accepted March 11, 2015
SIG 2 Perspectives on Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders, April 2015, Vol. 25, 47-60. doi:10.1044/nnsld25.2.47
History: Received January 24, 2015; Revised March 9, 2015; Accepted March 11, 2015

Purpose Review effects of epilepsy and its treatment on cognitive-communicative function.

Method We searched PubMed and extracted relevant information.

Results Epilepsy is a disorder characterized by recurrent unprovoked seizures. Epilepsy is commonly associated with cognitive disturbances in between seizures, most commonly memory dysfunction. Other cognitive disturbances may be seen, particularly auditory naming when epilepsy starts in the dominant temporal lobe. While control of seizures is expected to improve the cognitive consequences, antiepileptic drugs themselves may be associated with cognitive dysfunction. Among the old generation of antiepileptic drugs, the sedating medications phenobarbital and benzodiazepines have the most negative impact on cognitive function. However, carbamazepine, phenytoin, and valproate may also adversely affect attention and memory. The newer antiepileptic drugs lamotrigine, gabapentin, and levetiracetam (LEV) are less likely to affect cognition than carbamazepine. Another new antiepileptic drug, topiramate, is associated with considerable adverse effects on attention, concentration, memory, executive function, and verbal fluency. Word finding difficulties are a common adverse effect, to the point that some patients can develop a nonfluent aphasia. Levetiracetam (LEV), on the other hand, has been reported to improve verbal fluency in patients with partial epilepsy and language dysfunction.

Conclusions Both epilepsy and its treatment may adversely affect cognitive-communicative function.

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