Cognitive problems are frequently observed in patients with epilepsy and the relative contribution of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in this respect is determinant. During the past few years, a number of new AEDs have been introduced, and new compounds will be probably available in the forthcoming years. The ideal AED would be the one characterized by good efficacy with no negative effects on cognitive functions, mood and behavior. This paper is aimed at discussing the potential impact on cognition of a number of new compounds, namely lacosamide, rufinamide, retigabine, eslicarbazepine acetate, brivaracetam, perampanel and ganaxolone. In almost all cases, specific data on cognitive functions are not yet available, and it is possible only to speculate on their potential impact considering the mechanism of action and the adverse event profile in placebo-controlled studies. Lacosamide, eslicarbazepine acetate and probably brivaracetam are promising and will probably exhibit very limited impact on cognition. Conversely, retigabine may be more problematic, needing low starting doses and slow titration rates to improve cognitive tolerability. Data on rufinamide are restricted to special populations such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Perampanel and ganaxolone are still in Phase III development, but the mechanism of action of these compounds is in line with a more sedative than neutral profile.
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