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Sodium valproate and ethosuximide are anticonvulsants employed in the treatment of petit mal epilepsy; both drugs are considered to be thalamically active. Valproate and ethosuximide both decreased the average evoked response following the second of two stimuli delivered to the ventrolateral thalamus at stimulus frequencies in the region of 3 Hz. Ethosuximide, but not valproate, enhanced the average evoked response at high stimulus frequencies an action shared with several convulsant treatments having different modes of action. The clinical effects of valproate and ethosuximide can be related to this differential modulation of thalamocortical excitability.