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Epilepsy Drugs Don't Raise Suicide Risk, Study Shows
Date:8/5/2010

commit suicide than those who didn't take an antiepileptic medication.

The researchers weren't able to determine why patients were taking an antiepileptic medication even though they didn't have epilepsy, depression or bipolar disorder. However, they noted that it may have been for chronic pain, which has been associated with an increased risk of suicide.

One possible reason for the increased risk seen among these two groups, the authors concluded, may be that "the use of antiepileptic drugs in these patients is a marker of severe depression or the presence of another condition that may be associated with an increased risk of suicide-related events."

"Research is dialogue, and our study is just another brick in the wall of knowledge," said Arana, who noted that the study was funded by an unrestricted grant from drug maker Sepracor. "There is still the need to fine-tune the role of antiepileptic drugs in indications other than epilepsy, to study the risk in the initial period of treatment compared to the use afterwards, and to compare individual antiepileptic drugs when used to treat patients with identical types of epilepsy."

More information

For more on epilepsy, go to U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Alejandro Arana, M.D., managing partner, Risk MR Pharmacovigilance Services, Zaragoza, Spain; Orrin Devinsky M.D., director, Epilepsy Center, New York University Langone Medical Center, and professor, neurology, neurosurgery and psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine; Aug. 5, 2010, New England Journal of Medicine


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