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Chapter: Biochemical Pharmacology : Drugs that act on sodium and potassium channels

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Sodium channel blockers in epilepsia

Another field of application for sodium channel blockers is epilepsia.

Sodium channel blockers in epilepsia

Another field of application for sodium channel blockers is epilepsia. While epileptic seizures are a diverse and com-plex phenomenon, a key feature consists in bursts of excess excitatory activity of neurons in the brain. Sodium chan-nel blockers will reduce nerve cell excitability, and they are thus one of the mainstays of anti-epileptic treatment. As but one example out of many7, Figure 5.10 shows pheny-toin (or diphenylhydantoine).

 

Properties of phenytoin are

 

• good penetration of blood brain barrier;


• action on several cation channels besides Na V. The contribution of these to the therapeutic effect is unsettled;

 

• strong enzyme induction (hepatic metabolism, CYP3A3). This gives rise to multiple drug interactions.

 

These characteristics are quite common among antiepilep-tic drugs.


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