Long-term antiepileptic drug use may impair balance

Study finds long-term users of antiepileptic medication had poorer static balance.

walking close up

Antiepileptic medication use appears to be associated with poor balance control, but it is not clear if these effects are related to epilepsy itself or its treatment.

Researchers from the University of Melbourne, Australia, studied 26 pairs of twins or siblings, where one had received long-term treatment for a condition requiring antiepileptic medication (median 19 years) and the other had not.

The study found that, at baseline and follow-up, users of antiepileptic medication had more body sway and poorer static balance than non-users. Over a median of three years, the patients also had a significantly greater annual deterioration in sway than their twin and sibling controls.

The researchers, writing in the November issue of Epilepsia
, say that antiepileptic therapy may therefore progressively impair balance mechanisms, although further studies are required to exclude confounding factors.


[1] Shiek Ahmad B, Wark JD, Petty SJ et al. Changes in balance function with chronic antiepileptic drug therapy: a twin and sibling study. Epilepsia 2015;56:1714-1722. doi:10.1111/epi.13136

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, Long-term antiepileptic drug use may impair balance;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20200113

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