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Lacosamide is an anticonvulsant prescribed mainly for the treatment of seizures. It is used in conjunction with other seizure medicines for epilepsy and partial-onset seizures. This medicine also can be used in the treatment of diabetic neuropathic pain.
Epilepsy is a convulsant disorder that includes more than 30 types of seizures. Seizures are grouped into one of two classifications. Generalized seizures occur on both sides of the brain and often start from a partial seizure. Partial-onset seizures, also known as partial or focal seizures, occur in one part of the brain. Lacosamide works to reduce the electricity in the brain that causes the seizures.
Simple partial seizures allow the person to remain conscious but cause strange sensations. Complex partial seizures cause the person to lose consciousness and display odd behaviors, such as twitching or walking in a circle. Generalized absence seizures, called petit mal seizures, cause a person to go into a staring spell. Generalized tonic-clonic seizures, called grand mal seizures, cause a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions. When current treatments are not completely effective in preventing seizure activity, lacosamide can be added to provide an extra boost.
Diabetic neuropathic pain is a neuropathy that affects pain fibers, autonomic nerves and motor neurons. Any organs tied in to these peripheral nerves can be affected. Research has shown that antiepileptic medicines, such as lacosamide, can help treat this neuropathic pain.
Lacosamide is most commonly prescribed in tablet form. Unless a doctor provides other instructions, it should be taken twice a day. The tablets should be swallowed whole, with or without a meal, and with plenty of water. Dosages will start low and gradually increase about once a week to allow time for the body to adjust.
General side effects of lacosamide include nausea, vomiting, changes in vision and weakness. Eye twitching, dizziness and shaking are also common. These side effects usually subside as the body adjusts. If they worsen or become bothersome, the prescribing physician should be notified.
The way that this medicine works with the brain might cause the patient’s mental status to change. Suicidal thoughts, anxiety, panic attacks, paranoia and depression can occur. Patients should be closely monitored for unusual behavior.
Serious side effects of lacosamide include increased heart rate, trouble breathing, fainting and jaundice. Additionally, an allergic reaction can occur and is evident if itching, rash or fever is experienced. If any of these side effects are noticed, immediate medical care is needed.
Lacosamide should be taken exactly as prescribed. Treatment should not be stopped without a doctor’s instructions, even if side effects occur. Abruptly stopping this medicine can trigger seizure activity. Patients who are taken off this treatment must have their dosages reduced in small increments to avoid damage.