Anti-epileptic drugs as possible neuroprotectants in cerebral ischemia

R. R. Leker, M. Y. Neufeld

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Many similarities exist between cerebral ischemia and epilepsy regarding brain-damaging and auto-protective mechanisms that are activated following the injurious insult. Therefore, drugs that are effective in minimizing seizure-induced brain damage may also be useful in minimizing ischemic injury. Use of such drugs in stroke victims may have important clinical and financial advantages. Therefore, the authors conducted a Medline search of studies involving the use of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) as possible neuroprotectants and summarize the data. Most AEDs have been tested in animal models of focal or global ischemia and some were already tested in humans, for a possible neuroprotective effect. The existing data is rather scant and insufficient but it appears that only drugs that have multiple mechanisms of action seem to have some potential in conferring a degree of neuroprotection that could be clinically applicable to stroke patients. In conclusion, some of the newer AEDs show promise as possible neuroprotectants in the setup of acute ischemic stroke but more studies are needed before clinical trials in humans could be undertaken.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-203
Number of pages17
JournalBrain Research Reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2003


  • Drugs
  • Epilepsy
  • Neuroprotection
  • Stroke
  • Therapeutics


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