Mode Of Action

Antiepilepsy (anticonvulsant) drugs inhibit the neuronal discharge or its spread, and do so in one or more of three ways:

1. Reducing cell membrane permeability to ions, particularly the voltage-dependent sodium channels which are responsible for the inward current that generates an action potential. Cells that are firing repetitively at high frequency are blocked preferentially, which permits discrimination between epileptic and physiological activity.

2. Enhancing the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) the principal inhibitory transmitter of the brain; the result is increased membrane permeability to chloride ion, which reduces cell excitability

3. Inhibiting excitatory neurotransmitters, e.g. glutamate.

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