Tiagabine increases the brain levels of a chemical messenger
(neurotransmitter) called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which may prevent
abnormal electrical activity in brain cells.
Why It Is Used
Tiagabine is used in combination with other antiepileptic medicines
in adults and children older than 12 years to control
How Well It Works
When added to treatment with another antiepileptic drug, tiagabine
is sometimes effective in reducing partial seizures in children older than 12
years. It seems to work better in controlling partial seizures in adults,
either alone or when used with another antiepileptic medicine. It is not
helpful in reducing other types of seizures, such as primary
generalized seizures or seizures in children who have
Common side effects of tiagabine include:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning on
antiepileptic medicines and the risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts. The FDA
does not recommend that people stop using these medicines. Instead, people who
take antiepileptic medicine should be watched closely for
warning signs of suicide. People who take
antiepileptic medicine and who are worried about this side effect should talk
to a doctor.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference
is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
It may take time and careful, controlled adjustments by you and
your doctor to find the combination, schedule, and dosing of medicine to best
manage your epilepsy. The goal is to prevent seizures while causing as few
side effects as possible. After you and your doctor figure out the
medicine program that works best for you, make sure to follow your
program exactly as prescribed.
Drug interactions. Many medicines for epilepsy can
interact with other medicines you may be taking. This means that your epilepsy
medicine may not work as well, or it may affect the way another medicine you
are taking works. Some of these interactions can be dangerous. Make sure
to tell your doctor about all the medicines, herbal pills, and dietary
supplements you are taking.
Risk of birth defects. All medicines for epilepsy
have some risk of birth defects. But the risk of birth defects needs to be
carefully compared to other risks to the baby if the mother stops taking her
epilepsy medicine. If you are thinking about becoming pregnant, be sure
to plan ahead and talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of taking
epilepsy medicine during your pregnancy. It you are already pregnant, it is not
too late. The best thing to do is talk to your doctor about your pregnancy
before you make any changes to the medicines you are taking.
Other concerns. For some people, tiagabine may
cause side effects or carry risks that are not yet fully known. Report any
unexpected side effects or problems to your doctor.
Jarrar RG, Buchhalter JR (2003). Therapeutics in
pediatric epilepsy, part 1: The new antiepileptic drugs and the ketogenic diet.
Mayo Clinical Procedures, 78(3): 359–370.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.