chapter  20
Pharmacological Interventions: Anticonvulsants
ByStephen J. Donovan, Jalila B. Aybar
Pages 17

INTRODUCTION Anticonvulsants are used to control tantrums, violence, and agitation in children (1), adolescents (2), adults (3), and the elderly (4). Some reviews of psychopharmacology of aggression include a section on anticonvulsants, and some reviews of anticonvulsant use include a section on aggression (3,5). While aggression is typically regarded as a target symptom, there have been efforts to use pharmacological response to classify aggression (6). Here, we extend these efforts and elaborate a tentative, clinically derived nosology of aggression with two major subtypes and four divisions within the second subtype (Table 1). After delineating this classification, we use it to address four clinical issues: when to use an anticonvulsant, which anticonvulsant to use, at what dose and duration, and what to do when treatment response is inadequate.