Seizure medicines are normally used to treat
seizures, but they are also used successfully to treat
mild to moderate
withdrawal symptoms during
detoxification from alcohol
dependence. Currently, there is good evidence that
carbamazepine (for example, Tegretol), valproate (for example, Depakote), and
phenytoin (for example, Dilantin) are effective in reducing the severity of
withdrawal symptoms and emotional distress related to withdrawal.footnote 1 Seizure medicines can be used safely over a long period of
Side effects of seizure medicines can include:
Tremor or shakiness.
Birth defects in your fetus if
you are pregnant.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a
warning on seizure medicines and the risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts. The
FDA does not recommend that people stop using these medicines. Instead, people
who take seizure medicine should be watched closely for
warning signs of suicide. People who take seizure
medicine and who are worried about this side effect should talk to a
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug
Reference is not available in all systems.)
Kosten TR, O'Connor PG (2003). Management of drug and alcohol withdrawal. New England Journal of Medicine, 348(18): 1786–1795.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerPeter Monti, PhD - Alcohol and Addiction Christine R. Maldonado, PhD - Behavioral Health
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