The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) have published some new guidelines in the journal Neurology. The guidelines are meant ot help epileptic patients with HIV and their doctors pick the right anti-seizure medications that will not hinder the effects of antiretrovirals (ARVs) or provide a dangerous interaction.

“Drug interactions between AEDs [antiepileptic drugs] and ARVs could result in progression to AIDS and/or reduced seizure control,” said Gretchen Birbeck, MD, MPH, of Michigan State University and a lead author of the recommendations. “Providing guidelines that help physicians select appropriate therapies for their patients with epilepsy and HIV/AIDS will ultimately improve patient outcomes and possibly decrease the public health threat of the development of drug-resistant HIV.”

This information is necessary since epilepsy is common among HIV patients; as many as 55 percent of HIV patients require AED medications to help them manage their seizures. Right now, there are many AEDs to choose from, including Warfarin, Dilantin and Topamax. However, these medications come with their own list of side effects and may prove disastrous in combination with HIV medications. Because of the way some of the AEDs and ARVs are metabolized, some anti-seizure medications can cause the HIV patient’s blood levels to increase or decrease dramatically. This could end up increasing the risk of side effects or HIV drug resistance. Similarly, some ARVs can increase or decrease blood levels of some AEDs, which can also increase the risk of side effects or reduce the effectiveness of anti-seizure therapies.

“Future research should target epilepsy and HIV/AIDS drug combinations where choices are limited, such as in developing countries to better understand the risks,” Birbeck said. “It also is important that patients know exactly which drugs they are taking and provide that information to all prescribing health care providers caring for them.”

Topamax is an anti-seizure medication that wasn’t mentioned — and and for good reason. Topamax (topamirate) has been linked to various birth defects that include cleft palates, cleft lips, PPHN and heart, lung and brain defects when the drug was taken by pregnant women during pregnancy. If your baby was born with birth defects as a result of in-utero exposure to the drug, contact attorney Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I am experienced at fighting Topamax lawsuits and can help you to understand what your rights are. I may also be able to help you recover money for your baby’s injuries.