What is the mechanism of action for antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in the treatment of neuropathic low back pain (LBP)?

Updated: Aug 22, 2018
  • Author: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Stephen A Berman, MD, PhD, MBA  more...
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Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), such as phenytoin, carbamazepine, and divalproex sodium, have been used by neurologists for years to treat neuropathic pain, including neuralgia and headaches. [18, 76] Only carbamazepine is FDA-approved for trigeminal neuralgia. Recently, several newer AEDs have been scrutinized through research and clinical trials as possible treatments for various neuropathic pain syndromes. These recently developed AEDs have 4 basic mechanisms of action: [57, 77]

  1. Inhibition of sodium channels

  2. Inhibition of calcium channels

  3. Regulation of the levels or activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA

  4. Regulation of the levels or activity of the excitatory amino acid glutamate

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