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A to Z of Epilepsy - G

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Gabapentin

Gabapentin is the generic name for Neurontin. It is used to treat partial or secondary generalised seizures.

Side effects are a concern for many people with epilepsy. Most people, who do experience side effects, find that they are mild and may reduce as their body becomes used to the medication. It is important to discuss any concerns you have regarding side effects with your doctor. Side effects for gabapentin include drowsiness, dizziness, poor co-ordination and headache.

With all anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) it is important to make sure you get the same make each time. There can be small differences between different versions or makes of each drug. A different make can sometimes trigger a seizure for some people. If the packaging of your AEDs looks different speak to your pharmacist, epilepsy specialist nurse, GP or consultant about this. There is more information on AEDs in our Epilepsy and treatment guide.

Gabatril

Tiagabine is the generic name for Gabatril. It is used to treat partial and secondary generalised seizures

Side effects are a concern for many people with epilepsy. Most people, who do experience side effects, find that they are mild and may reduce as their body becomes used to the medication. It is important to discuss any concerns you have regarding side effects with your doctor. Side effects for tiagabine include dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, diarrhoea, headache, tremor, anxiety, depression and confusion.

With all anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) it is important to make sure you get the same make each time. There can be small differences between different versions or makes of each drug. If you get a different make, this could trigger a seizure for some people. If the packaging of your AEDs looks different speak to your pharmacist, epilepsy specialist nurse, GP or consultant about this. There is more information on AEDs in our Epilepsy and treatment guide.

Gamma-Linolenic acid
This can be found in Evening Primrose Oil. It is thought to stimulate the production of a hormone-like compound called prostaglandin. Prostaglandin can lower a person’s seizure threshold. It can also affect epilepsy drugs. There is conflicting evidence about Evening Primrose Oil and epilepsy.  To find out more, speak to your doctor or epilepsy specialist nurse..
Generic drugs

All drugs have a generic name and a brand name. The generic name is the chemical name and the brand name is the name given to the drug by the manufacturer.

When a drug is first produced by a pharmaceutical company they hold the patent for this drug. This means only they can produce that drug for a certain time period. Afterwards other pharmaceutical companies can make a generic version of this drug but they must give it a different brand name.

Genes and epilepsy
Some people will find that there is a family history or epilepsy. Research is finding that certain types of epilepsy are genetic where others are not. If you have epilepsy the chance of your child developing the condition is generally low. Speak to your own doctor about your situation. They can also refer you for genetic counselling.
Generalised seizures
Generalised seizures are seizures which affect all of the brain. A person loses awareness during a generalised seizure, sometimes just for a split second. They will not remember what has happened to them or around them during the seizure. There are several types of generalised seizures. These include tonic-clonic, absence, tonic, clonic, atonic, and myoclonic seizures. For more information see Seizures explained.
GP epilepsy review

GPs and practice nurses now ask people with epilepsy to come for a yearly review. This is a chance to talk over how your epilepsy affects you. You may want to ask questions about several things like medication, any side effects, seizures, or triggers.

There is more information on this in the epilepsy review section of our website.

Grand mal seizures
Tonic-clonic seizures used to be called grand mal seizures. During a tonic-clonic seizure a person stiffens and will fall over if they are standing. This is called the tonic stage. The body then starts jerking. Some people turn slightly blue as their breathing is affected. This is the clonic stage. The person may also grunt, bite their tongue and/or empty their bladder. The jerking usually stops after a couple of minutes. The person will slowly come round. They may feel sleepy and confused afterwards. Some people have a headache or sore arms and legs. Some people recover more quickly than others.