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Anti epileptic drugs and memory

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In your experiences, which has the least effect in cognitive function overall.

Best for studying for school/lots of reasearch or memorizing.

Best for doing a job. Not so much memorizing but more so like running a business, responding to the task at hand.

Other effects of said best drug.

Thanks might have to take an aed in future.

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Not to be a debbie downer, but more than likely they'll all make you stupid for a while until you adjust to the dose.


In my personal experience, carbamazepine was the most pro-cognitive. It has a lot of drug interactions, though, so that may be a factor.

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You're not going to know until you try. Though I know Topamax has earned itself the nickname "Dopamax" for making people dumb. I take it, and it's done some strange things to my word-recall ability, but the thing about medications in general is that when you're on the right one/s, part of the way you know is that your brain is working BETTER. Word recall nonwithstanding, my brain works better on TPX.

You have to balance benefits against side effects.

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Is this for seizures or a psych illness? I'll try to cover both.


Topomax/Zonegran (Zonegran is a metabolite of Topamax) made me stupid. I took Zonegran, which is supposed to be a more refined Topamax. I took it for migraine. My husband tried Topamax for seizures, I forget why they took him off.


Neurontin- no problems at all. Helped my headaches (what I was taking it for), helped my mood (in addition).


Tegretol- was the first AED I took for mood stabilization, and it didn't really work for me, but I had no cognitive issues on it. I was on it for a few years before they started using other AEDs for mood stabilizers. Oxycarbamenzapine is related to Tegretol (I think it is also a metabolite). Some people do great on Tegretol, and not on Oxy, and vice versa. My husband takes Oxycarbamenzapine for seizures, and used to take Tegretol before Oxy's introduction.


Depakote had no effect on my mood or cognitive skills at all. I took it for migraines. It killed my libidio. It worked a couple of times for a couple of years each


Lamictal is the AED that has worked best for my mood. It does have some cognitive (memory) effects at the start, but nothing that has been long lasting, except for word finding. The thesaurus has become my best friend. My husband also takes Lamictal for seizures.


Keppra is supposed to be very good at seizure control with no cognitive side effects; but one side effect is it can make you depressed and irritable (nick-named Kepprage). If this doesn't happen to you, it is one of the best anti-seizure meds (for seizure control).


Vimpat is also supposed to be good at seizure control. My husband was unable to stay on it long enough for us to tell, but he did not suffer cognitive difficulties.


And this is for the future, but my husband also takes a stage 3 trial anti-seizure medication related to Keppra, Brivaracetam, which should come onto the market in the next two to three years. I don't know what kind of a mood stabilizer it is, but he got into the trial because he had negative mood changes on Keppra. And not only does he not have mood changes, he's stopped seizing for the first time since he was 12. He has no cognitive side effects at all.


P.S. All my husband's doctors, and my husband, hate Dilantin. No one can give me a clear reason why.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I take both Lamictal (specific for seizures) and Seroquel.  I have and still have immediate term and short term memory issues.  My word recall is poor, and I basically need lists to function and remember things. 


But I haven't had any seizures, thats a win in my mind.

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  • 7 months later...

Since ive only been on AEDs for about 5 about to be 6 years now, I can't tell you too many. It all depends on the person in all honesty. I'm not sure about what type of seizures you may have but I was diagnosed with juvenile myoclonic jerks, and tonic clonic seizures. When I started seeing my new neuro, I was also diagnosed with catamenial epilepsy. I was started out on Keppra and Klonipin as needed. With Keppra, I was maybe having 2 days a month with the myoclonic jerks and a tonic clonic every couple of months at first but the the longer I was on it, I built up a tolerance to where it wouldn't work at all for me. I was having them weekly. 

Then I went to Depakote and Depakote ER. It worked for about a month each but not as well as the Keppra. While on it, I experienced weight gain, depression, And mood changes. 

After that I went to Zonegran. By this point, this is when I was diagnosed with catamenial epilepsy. I was having more seizures than before but on zonegran, it was still doing a pretty good job of controlling them. The only time I would be having seizures would be around my period, no matter how many there were. The only issues we had with zonegran were while I was on it, I had extremely bad aggression, mood changes, irritability, hostile actions, and major weight loss. I went from 160 to about 125 in a 2 month period because it changed my eating patterns. 

After that, I was put on Lamictal along with the zonegran. This was the shortest lived one for me because it was causing me to have more seizures than normal, caused extremely bad memory loss, short and long term, depressive behavior, and eye twitching that won't stop to this day and keeps getting worse. So for now, until I see my neuro, I'm just on zonegran. 

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  • 1 year later...
  • 4 years later...

keppra - no side effects of any kind, but it didn't stop my seizures even at 1500mg twice daily

topamax - couldn't control seizures and i had big time memory issues and hazy feelings in the head most days, 200mg twice daily

lamictal/lamotrigine - immediately stopped auras/absence seizures and full, big-boy tonic-clonic ones, but i do think my memory is a slightly worse than before--200mg twice daily--if i miss a few doses and go through a period of little sleep i can have a breakthrough seizure, so i try my best to stay on top of it. still, it's the best thing i've tried. 

even though it was a nightmare when my epilepsy started at age 21, i feel lucky i didn't have to try more than three drugs to find something that worked. best of luck to you, my friend



Oops, didn't realize this thread was so old. My bad

Edited by J-Bones
I'm a dope
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