Timothy Wirt, M.D.
Board Certified in Neurological Surgery

Donn Turner, M.D.
Board Certified in Neurological Surgery

Douglas Beard, M.D.
Board Certified in Orthopaedic Surgery

Serving northern Colorado,
western Nebraska, Wyoming,
and western Kansas.
(970) 493-1292
(800) 458-0306

Patient HelpBook

Possible Side Effects of Anticonvulsants

(Return to Table of Contents for Patient HelpBook)

  1. Anticonvulsants commonly used in the practice of neurological surgery include TEGRETOL (carbamazepine), DILANTIN (phenytoin), PHENOBARBITAL, and DEPAKOTE (dilvalproex sodium). These are also sometimes used for trigeminal neuralgia and in certain situations for pain control.

    Possible Side Effects of Anticonvulsants

    Any of these medications can cause abnormalities of blood or platelet counts as well as abnormalities of liver function. If you are on one of these medications on an on-going basis, you should be sure your physician checks your liver function tests and blood counts on a regular basis.

    The most frequent adverse reactions to TEGRETOL consist of dizziness, drowsiness, unsteadiness, nausea, and vomiting. Skin rashes may occur.

    If any of the above symptoms occur, you should consult your physician immediately. Other evidence of a potential blood count problem could include a fever, sore throat, mouth ulcers, and easy bruising. These should also be reported to your physician immediately.

    DILANTIN is a commonly used anticonvulsant. Adverse reactions include poor balance, slurred speech, and confusion as well as nervousness and sometimes headaches. Nausea, vomiting, and constipation can occur, as well as liver damage
    or rashes. Abnormalities of the blood count can also occur.

    Concluding Guidelines

    It is important to avoid alcohol while using any of the above medications (with the exception of Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Medications).

    While you are taking narcotic pain medications, it is imperative that you do not drive a vehicle.

    If you feel that you are having a reaction to your medication, contact your physician. If you have been using any medication longer than six months, ask you physician if you should have blood tests performed.


    See links below for possible side effects of other classes of drugs:

    Narcotic pain medication

    Anti-seizure medications, also known as anticonvulsants


    Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents


    Muscle relaxants



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