Published on Feb 05, 2008
Antiepileptic Drugs Linked to Suicidal Behavior
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an alert on the effects of drugs used to treat epilepsy, bipolar disorder, migraine headaches, and other conditions. The FDA has found that these drugs lead to an increase in suicidal thoughts and behaviors (suicidality) among patients.
A study showed that patients have about twice the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors when taking these drugs. The following drugs were tested:
- Carbamazepine (marketed as Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol, Tegretol XR)
- Felbamate (marketed as Felbatol)
- Gabapentin (marketed as Neurontin)
- Lamotrigine (marketed as Lamictal)
- Levetiracetam (marketed as Keppra)
- Oxcarbazepine (marketed as Trileptal)
- Pregabalin (marketed as Lyrica)
- Tiagabine (marketed as Gabitril)
- Topiramate (marketed as Topamax)
- Valproate (marketed as Depakote, Depakote ER, Depakene, Depacon)
- Zonisamide (marketed as Zonegran)
Some of these drugs are also available in generic form.
Although only these drugs were tested, the FDA believes that all medications in the antiepileptic class share the same side effects. The FDA will work with the drugs’ manufacturers to include these findings on drug labels. The increased risk of sucidality was observed one week after starting a drug and continued to at least 24 weeks.
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Source: "FDA Alerts Health Care Providers to Risk of Suicidal Thoughts and Behavior with Antiepileptic Medications." FDA Press Release. January 21, 2008.