This Medication Could Be Causing Your Eyelid Twitch

The sudden twitch of an eyelid can be a strange sensation. High levels of stress, caffeine intake, alcohol consumption, or fatigue can all prompt the involuntary muscle spasms that characterize an eyelid twitch, according to Mayo Clinic experts. If your twitchy eyelid can't be traced to any of these potential causes, however, take a peek inside your medicine cabinet. Certain prescription medications can also evoke eyelid twitching — medically referred to as "myokymia" — particularly anti-epileptic drugs, reports Grosinger, Spigelman & Grey Eye Surgeons. According to 2015 data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 3 million are affected by epilepsy across the country.

While anyone may experience eyelid twitching from time to time, it's usually temporary. Therefore, if you find that your eyelid twitching is ongoing, and you have been prescribed an anti-epileptic medication to treat an epileptic seizure disorder or alternate health condition, you may be experiencing a side effect of the drug. Let's take a closer look at which specific anti-epileptic drugs have been linked with myokymia.

Anti-epileptic drugs related to eye twitching

In a 2007 case study published in the Journal of Clinical Neurology, the authors found a link between excessive involuntary eye blinking and patient use of lamotrigine. A woman in her 40s had been taking the widely prescribed anti-epileptic drug to manage symptoms of complex partial and secondarily generalized seizures. Her dosage had been gradually increased to 200 milligrams daily. After taking lamotrigine for five months, the woman was hospitalized for excessive eye blinking that occurred at an approximate rate of two spasms per second. The blinking subsided one month after the patient stopped taking the drug.

Similarly, the author of a 2016 case report published in Case Reports in Psychiatry found a relationship between the use of the psychotropic anti-epileptic medication topiramate and ongoing eye twitching. While cases of myokymia in relation to topiramate are generally considered rare, a 47-year-old woman who had been taking 50 milligrams of the drug for over a year experienced persistent lower-eyelid twitching that then spread to the upper eyelid and eyebrow. Once she had stopped the medication, the patient's eye twitching ceased.

When to see your doctor for eye twitching

If you suspect that an anti-epileptic medication may be the cause of your eye twitching, be sure to speak to your physician. However, these drugs aren't the only medications that may cause eye twitching as a potential side effect. Antidepressants, nasal decongestants, antihistamines, and allergy treatment drugs have also been linked with eye twitching, according to Valley Eyecare Center.

To help ease the discomfort of eye twitching at home, try limiting caffeine and alcohol consumption. Keeping stress levels in check can also be helpful. This can include getting adequate sleep, practicing grounding techniques, or seeking support from others. Alternatively, be sure to keep your eyes hydrated with eye drops if you deal with dry eyes. Finally, try placing a warm compress on the eye area, which can help ease muscle tension and reduce twitching. In the event that eye twitching persists for several weeks, affects your vision, or develops in other facial areas, reach out to your healthcare provider.