Pharmacology for Technicians PTCB Test Prep

Anticonvulsant Drugs to Know for the PTCB Exam!

Dec 24th, 2020
anticonvulsant drugs

Introduction to Antiepileptic Drugs

There are many kinds of anticonvulsant drugs to know for the PTCB exam. Anticonvulsant drugs are also known as antiepileptic drugs – drugs used to treat patients who suffer from seizures.

Below, we have put together the most common examples – from phenytoin and carbamazepine to valproate, ethosuximide, and lamotrigine. Though this is not an exhaustive list of medicines, it does represent the fifteen most common antiepileptic drugs that you are likely to encounter both as a pharmacy technician and asked about during the PTCB test.

You are unlikely to be asked which specific seizure each drug treats. However, you should be aware that each of these drugs is used to treat at least one kind of seizure. Some of these medicines are also used to treat other conditions. For example, pregabalin is also used to treat fibromyalgia, diabetic neuropathy, anxiety, and restless legs syndrome.

There are other, older drug classes which we have excluded from this list because they are rarely if ever used, not least due to adverse effect profiles. Barbiturates – such as phenobarbital – is one such example. From 1912-1938, phenobarbital was the most used anticonvulsant medicine, before it was superseded by phenytoin from that year onwards. Phenobarbital may still be used though it is typically only used in treatment-resistant cases where other, first and second-line drugs, have proven insufficient or ineffective.

There are many kinds of seizure – from partial and tonic-clonic, to myoclonic and absence seizures – among others. For the PTCB examination, students are not required to know the differences between these types, nor are students expected to know what drug is used to treat what specific seizure. However, if you would like to learn more about the various kinds of seizures, we recommend visiting the CDC website for the sound foundation on this topic.

15 Most Common Anticonvulsant Drugs!

ValproateDepaconAbsence seizures
Partial seizures
Generalized seizures
Partial seizures
Generalized seizures
Ethosuximide ZarontinAbsence seizures
ZonisamideZonegranPartial seizures
Status epilepticus
PhenytoinDilantinStatus epilepticus
Prevent seizures in surgery
Tonic-clonic seizures
Focal seizures
OxcarbazepineOxtellar XR
Partial seizures
Partial seizures
Tonic-clonic seizures
Partial onset seizures
Myoclonic seizures
BrivaracetamBriviactPartial onset seizures
LamotrigineLamictalAbsence seizures
Myoclonic seizures
Tonic-clonic seizures
Partial seizures
PregabalinLyricaPartial seizures

Check back to our PTCB blog soon for more information on the facts you need to know to master the exam and become a qualified pharmacy technician in the United States!

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PTCB Test Prep Author


Elaine Walker

Elaine joined PTCB Test Prep in 2017, currently serving as the lead product development manager overseeing both course development and quality improvement. Mrs. Walker is a graduate of California State University and has worked as a pharmacy technician for over twenty years – with particular interests in pediatric pharmacy, extemporaneous compounding, and hospital pharmacy. Over the past 8-years, she has helped prepare thousands of students for the PTCB examination.