Anticonvulsant medications are usually prescribed by neurologists for patients who have epilepsy or for those who suffer from any kind of convulsions. However, they have now been found to be effective in patients who suffer with many different psychiatric disorders as well as chronic pain including back pain. A recent study actually shows that there is a link between the responses of the brain that cause back pain and epilepsy. Anticonvulsant medications work by destroying the overactive neurons in the brain.
Convulsions that are caused by having epileptic seizures are brought on by abnormal electrical impulses in the brain, and if not treated, it can result in damage to the brain receptors. When these brain receptors are damaged, it can cause pain in other parts of the body. For example, back pain can be the cause of this; however, anticonvulsants can calm the brain receptors, and this will result in less pain.
Treatments with Anticonvulsants
Many people are able to cope with their medical disorders because of using anticonvulsants. Some of the medical conditions they are used to treat are:
• Epileptic seizures
• Psychiatric Disorders such as:
• Chronic depression
• Bipolar disorder
• Mood disorders
• Chronic pain due to serious injury
• Pain due to fibromyalgia
• Migraine headaches
• Eating disorders (such as bulimia)
For patients who are prescribed anticonvulsants for pain, they usually take them once a day to prevent pain or seizures from occurring. The medicine is able to help prevent pain by releasing the right amount of certain chemicals in the brain to balance out the brain chemicals. Patients who suffer from fibromyalgia and chronic back pain have reported better pain management while on these medications. Patients must have medical exams to be prescribed this and keep doctor appointments to make sure they do not experience any problems.
Those who suffer with any sort of psychological disorders may benefit from the use of anticonvulsants. There are many name brand and generic brands that treat many different disorders. However, the prescribing doctor or psychiatrist may also prescribe an antidepressant to use along with the anticonvulsant and may even use together with behavioral therapy or psychotherapy.
What are the Side Effects of Anticonvulsants?
All medications have side effects and anticonvulsants are no different. Some may experience side effects within the first day of use while others may take several weeks to notice. However, if you experience any of the following side effects, you should contact your doctor to let them know. Pregnant women should let the doctor know before taking because there is a chance that there may be birth defects if it is taken during pregnancy.
• Depression that may cause suicidal thoughts
• Memory loss
• Fatigue , sometimes extreme
• Swollen feet or hands
• Numbness in hands or feet
• Weight gain or loss
• Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
• Loss of appetite or changes in taste
• Skin rashes
• Hair loss
If you are currently suffering from chronic back pain, you should consult with your doctor to see if anticonvulsants may be ideal for you. Your doctor can correctly prescribe the right dose to help control your pain and help you to get on with your life.