Psychiatric and Behavioural Disorders in Children with Epilepsy (ILAE Task Force Report): Adverse cognitive and behavioural effects of antiepileptic drugs in children

Albert Aldenkamp*, Frank Besag, Giuseppe Gobbi, Rochelle Caplan, David W. Dunn, Matti Sillanpaa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

40 Citations (Web of Science)


The literature was evaluated for cognitive and more general behavioural effects. We distinguished the older antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), from the newer and newest AEDs. The striking finding was the lack of information on children. From the available evidence it would appear that there may be negative cognitive effects with phenobarbital, phenytoin, topiramate and zonisamide, and adverse behavioural effects with phenobarbital, valproate, gabapentin, topiramate, levetiracetam and zonisamide. There is inconclusive data on ethosuximide, clobazam, vigabatrin, felbamate, pregabalin, stiripentol, rufinamide, lacosamide and retigabine. The following drugs appear to be neutral with regard to cognitive effects: valproate, carbamazepine, gabapentin and oxcarbazepine. Carbamazepine appears to be neutral with regard to behavioural effects. Positive cognitive effects have been reported with lamotrigine and levetiracetam. Positive behavioural effects have been reported with lamotrigine. Recommendations are provided.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S55-S67
JournalEpileptic Disorders
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • antiepileptic drug
  • cognition
  • attention
  • memory

Cite this