Ataxia might also represent a negative side effect of antiepileptic medication. Ataxia is especially frequent with the use of phenytoin and benzodiazepines.To varying degrees, ataxia is described as an adverse side effect of all antiepileptic drugs.

The issue has been best studied with phenytoin; high levels are toxic to the cerebellar cortex and Purkinje cells and may lead to their permanent damage and/or cerebellar atrophy.

Its long-term administration is particularly hazardous for ataxia development, and clinical impairment occurs in half of treated patients.

Ataxia might also be a side effect of gabapentin, but this drug is also useful in treating ataxia‚ For instance, in cortical cerebellar atrophy where GABA content reduction reflects the loss of Purkinje cells, the GABA ergic properties of gabapentin have a favorable impact.

Both effects are likely the result of interference with cerebellar GABAergic neurons, particularly Purkinje cells, the output neurons of the cerebellar cortex...

Table 2
Antiepileptic Drugs that Induce Cerebellar Ataxia1

There is very limited information on the exact mechanism by which most antiepileptic drugs induce ataxia.

In addition to affecting the GABAergic system, analogies dealing with the role of ion channel dysfunction in ataxias indicate that interactions with ion channels can also be expected.



Cerebral Ataxia may have Dilantin Risk Concerns

Reports of cerebral ataxia may have Dilantin seizure medication side effects with symptoms of cerebral ataxia which can have long-lasting side effects.


A research case study revealed that a woman experienced severe cereballar ataxia as a result of Dilantin toxicity 8 weeks after starting the drug. ...


The Dilantin study indicates that there are many side effects seen with Dilantin