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This type of medicine is used usually to treat pain from nerves that don’t work properly (in chronic pain it is the pain nerves that don’t work properly). It does not mean that you have epilepsy or are at risk of getting it. These drugs work by stopping the sensitivity of the brain and spinal cord. The best way to think of this is by imagining toilets (yes really!). Some old toilets need a good pull on the handle to flush, but some are very sensitive and only need a light touch to flush. Our nerves are a bit like this. The pain nerves especially in our brain and spinal cord can be very sensitive, especially if they have been damaged or irritated by inflammation. Sometimes this can happen by having pain for a long time. Small movements can be very painful which can partly be because of increasing sensitivity. People with pain from Shingles understand this very well because the lightest of touches on the skin can be agonising. By using anti-epileptic drugs, the pain nerves can be made less sensitive, so they need a much stronger stimulus to make them fire off. This can reduce pain intensity.
Like opioid drugs, anti-epileptic drugs need to get into our brain to work. when they do this, they can also give us unwanted effects similar to the ones above (nausea, dizziness, drowsiness etc). to try and stop this from happening, starting and stopping these medicines needs to be done gently over weeks.