Primidone can be prescribed to treat grand mal seizures and partial seizures in people who have epilepsy. The medication works by preventing abnormal electrical activity in the brain from starting and keeping such activity from spreading to other parts of the brain. Primidone comes in tablet form and is typically taken one to three times a day. Possible side effects include vertigo, drowsiness, and coordination problems.
Currently, brand-name Mysoline is made by West-ward Pharmaceutical Corp. Generic versions are made by various manufacturers.
How Does Primidone Work?
In the body, primidone is converted into various other chemicals, including phenobarbital. Phenobarbital is a type of barbiturate that can help control seizures by acting as an anticonvulsant. Unlike primidone, phenobarbital is considered a controlled substance. This means that there are special rules for prescribing and dispensing it (which do not apply to primidone). This is one of the main advantages of this drug. Some people consider it a barbiturate, while others do not.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder caused by recurring, brief changes in the brain's electrical system. These changes in brain activity can lead to a seizure (see Epilepsy Symptoms). Primidone (and phenobarbital) works by decreasing the excitability of the brain cells. This helps to prevent abnormal electrical activity from starting and keeps such activity from spreading to other parts of the brain.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: Approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed June 20, 2007.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed June 20, 2007.
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