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Antiepileptic Drugs in the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders

Pınar Çetinay Aydın, Sinem Akyalçın, Levent Mete.

In addition to epilepsy, antiepileptic drugs are used in neurologic conditions such as chronic pain and in the treatment of bipolar disorder in psychiatry. There are studies reporting its use in the treatment of anxiety disorders. The efficacy of antiepileptic drugs as carbamazepine, valproic asid, lamotrigine, topiramate, gabapentin, pregabalin in anxiety disorders has been shown in some clinical studies. The strongest evidence has been presented for pregabalin in generalized anxiety disorder, pregabalin and gabapentin in social anxiety disorder and lamotrigine in posttraumatic stres disorder. While certain studies report the effectiveness of antiepileptic drugs in the treatment of anxiety disordes, others report them as ineffective. Double blind placebo controlled drug trials are essential for clearly presenting anxiolytic activity of antiepileptic drugs which would lead the way to further wide scale use in clinical practice. This article focuses on recent literature to show the potential use of antiepileptic drugs in patients suffering from generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stres disorder, panic disorder along with a brief review of neuroanatomic structures and neurotransmitters associated with epilepsy and anxiety disorders.

Key words: anxiety disorder, antiepileptics, drug therapy, treatment efficacy

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