NYC Healthcare News



Epilepsy drugs analyzed for causing increased risk of suicide in patients

October 18, 2015

The study looked at all of the people in the United Kingdom General Practice Research Database who had epilepsy and had at least one prescription for an epilepsy drug from 1989 through 2005. The participants were followed for an average of five and a half years. Of the 44,300 people, 453 had harmed themselves or attempted suicide; 78 people died at the time or within four weeks of the initial attempt. The 453 people were compared to 8,962 in the larger group who had not harmed themselves or attempted suicide.

People who were currently using the newer drugs with a higher risk of depression, such as levetiracetam, topiramate and vigabatrin, were three times more likely to harm themselves or attempt suicide than those who were not currently taking any epilepsy drugs. A total of six of the 453 people, or 1.3 percent, who harmed themselves or attempted suicide were taking the newer drugs with the higher risk of depression, compared to 45 of the 8,962 people, or 0.5 percent, of those who did not harm themselves.

According to the authors, the number of people taking some of the drugs was small, so the results need to be confirmed by additional studies. People should not abruptly stop or change their epilepsy medication based on the findings of this study but should discuss this issue with their physician, Andersohn noted. Source : American Academy of Neurology