It was once believed that ADD/ADHD medications could lower the threshold for having seizures in individuals who have underlying seizure disorders.
Careful research and lots of clinical experience has shown this is not the case. With the exception of the second-line ADD medication, Wellbutrin, which can lower seizure threshold, it has been my experience that all of these medications can be used safely in individuals with a seizure disorder. The presence of a seizure disorder should not be a contraindication to medication use.
Furthermore, the ADD medications do not interfere with the effectiveness of any of the anticonvulsants. However, some of the anticonvulsant medications can lower an individual’s arousal level and, thereby, exacerbate ADD symptoms.
Occasionally, when arousal is a problem, physician managing the seizure disorder may be able to switch to a different anticonvulsant that has less associated sedation. If this is not possible, then the increased attentional weaknesses that can accompany the use of anticonvulsant therapy need to be managed by modifying the ADD medication regimen.
For further insight into the clinical truth of ADD/ADHD medication, don’t miss Dr. Liden’s (free) download PDF of his book, ADD/ADHD Basics 301. More honest discussion about the hot topics surrounding Attention Deficit Disorder can be found in our Pay Attention! blog series.