New antiepileptic drugs: From serendipity to rational discovery

R. J. Porter, Michael A Rogawski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Antiepileptic drug discovery has made enormous progress from the serendipity and screening processes of earlier days to the rational drug development of today. The modern era of research began with the recognition that enhancement of inhibitory processes in the brain might favorably influence the propensity for seizures, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) being the main inhibitory transmitter. Work in this field led to the development of vigabatrin, which inhibits the enzyme responsible for the degradation of GABA. More recently, research has focused on the therapeutic potential of blocking excitatory amino acids-in particular glutamate. Of the three receptors for glutamate, the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor is considered the one of most interest in epilepsy, and research on a series of competitive NMDA receptor antagonists-especially those that are orally active-is in the forefront of antiepileptic drug development today. A further alternative for diminishing neuronal excitability is to modulate sodium, potassium, or calcium channels. The latter are especially implicated in absence seizures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Anticonvulsants
  • GABA
  • Ion channels
  • Neurochemistry
  • Neurotransmitters
  • NMDA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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