Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Antiepileptics for psychiatric illness: Find the right match

Theresa M. Gerst, PharmD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Division of Pharmacy Practice, College of Pharmacy, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

L. Smith, PharmD, BCPP
, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Psychiatry, Seton Family of Hospitals, Austin, TX, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, TX

C. Patel, PharmD, PhD, BCPP
, Clinical Pharmacist, LifeSynch, Inc. Las Colinas, TX, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA

Although antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are used to treat a spectrum of psychiatric disorders, in some instances they are prescribed without clear evidence of clinical benefit or safety. When considering prescribing an AED, ask yourself:

  • Does the evidence show the drug is efficacious for my patient’s disorder or symptoms?

  • Which adverse effects are associated with this medication?

  • What are the advantages of monitoring the patient’s serum drug concentration?

This review provides an evidence-based framework regarding the safe and effective use of AEDs in psychiatric patients.

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