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Keywords:

  • epilepsy;
  • antimicrobials;
  • neurocysticercosis;
  • malaria;
  • drug interactions

Infections are probably the most common preventable cause of epilepsy worldwide. There are concerns that endemic infections and infestations, such as malaria and neurocysticercosis, could be responsible for the increased incidence of epilepsy in the developing world. Cases of epilepsy associated with neurocysticercosis are also being seen increasingly in developed countries due to migration from, and travel to, endemic areas. When prescribing antimicrobial agents in patients with epilepsy a number of issues need to be considered, such as potential adverse effects on seizure control and interactions with concomitant antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Some antimicrobial agents, including penicillins, cephalosporins, carbapenems, quinolones and antimalarials, can have proconvulsant activity and may precipitate seizures, even in patients who do not have epilepsy. Moreover, many antimicrobials increase or decrease the plasma levels of AEDs, whereas some AEDs may adversely affect the efficacy of antimicrobials.