Epilepsy Home > Primidone

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.

What Is Primidone?

Primidone (Mysoline®) is a prescription medication used to treat epilepsy. In particular, the medication is approved to treat the following types of seizures:
 
Primidone can be used alone or in combination with other seizure medications.
 
(Click What Is Primidone Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Who Makes It?

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.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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