Navigation Links
Not All Epilepsy Drugs Raise Suicide Risk: Study
Date:7/26/2010

By Madonna Behen
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 26 (HealthDay News) --Since 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has required that all epilepsy drugs bear a warning label about an increased risk of suicidal behaviors, but German doctors report that only certain medications may increase the risk of self-harm.

However, some epilepsy researchers are skeptical of the findings and say the paper raises more questions than it answers.

The study of more than 44,000 epilepsy patients in the United Kingdom revealed that those who took relatively new antiepileptic drugs with a higher risk of causing depression, such as levetiracetam (Keppra), topiramate (Topamax) and vigabatrin (Sabril), were three times more likely to harm themselves or attempt suicide than those who weren't taking any epilepsy medications.

The researchers found that patients who took conventional epilepsy medications, such as divalproex (Depakote, Depakote ER, Depakene) or phenytoin (Dilantin), or newer drugs with a low risk of depression, such as gabapentin (Neurontin) or lamotrigine (Lamictal), faced no increased risk of self-harm of suicidal behavior.

"These potential adverse effects should be considered in the selection of antiepileptics and during monitoring of the effects of these medications in epilepsy patients," said study author Dr. Frank Andersohn, of the Medical Center in Berlin. "Patients with epilepsy who are currently taking an antiepileptic drug that might increase the risk of depression and/or suicidal behavior should, however, not abruptly stop or change their medication but should discuss this issue with their physician."

Andersohn and his colleagues examined data on 44,300 patients 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. Participants were followed for an average of five-and-a-half years. During that time, 453 patients had harmed themselves or attempted suicide, and 78 people died at the time or within four weeks of the initial attempt. The 453 patients were compared with 8,962 others who had not harmed themselves or attempted suicide. 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 with 45 of the 8,962 people, or 0.5 percent, of those who didn't harm themselves.

The findings were published in the July 27 issue of Neurology.

An accompanying editorial notes several weaknesses of the study. For one thing, the results were based on a very small number of cases. Also, those taking the newer drugs with the higher risk of depression may have been more likely to have chronic and severe epilepsy, and these patients are known to have a higher risk of suicide, noted the editorial authors.

The FDA added the suicide warning to epilepsy drugs after an agency review of 199 studies found that patients taking the drugs had about twice the risk of suicidal behavior compared with patients taking a placebo. The absolute risk amounted to about one added case of suicidal thoughts or behaviors for every 500 patients taking the antiepileptic drugs vs. placebo.

Dr. Josemir Sander, co-author of the editorial, said he doubted these new findings would prompt doctors to reconsider what drugs they prescribe. "I think that most physicians will use good sense and see that there are far too many problems with [the study] and not make knee-jerk reactions," said Sander, of the University College London's Institute of Neurology.

One expert agreed that the findings are far from conclusive. "Although some antiepileptic drugs may pose a risk to increasing suicidal behavior, this study does not prove that," said Dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of the New York University Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. "However, it strongly speaks to the need for more information."

Devinsky added that it's important to consider the real risks of epilepsy vs. a possible small increased risk of suicide. "Epilepsy can be a progressive and deadly disorder, especially for those with chronic and severe seizures. The dangers of epilepsy far exceed the dangers of the possible small increase in suicidal behavior risk from some medications."

More information

To learn about epilepsy, visit the Epilepsy Foundation.

SOURCES: Frank Andersohn, M.D., Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charite University Medical Center, Berlin, Germany; Josemir Sander, M.D., Ph.D., professor, University College London Institute of Neurology, and National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London, England, and the Epilepsy Institute of the Netherlands Foundation, the Netherlands; 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; July 27, 2010, Neurology


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Brain Injury May Raise Soldiers Epilepsy Risk
2. FDA accepts historical controls for epilepsy monotherapy studies
3. Study confirms favorable long-term prognosis of epilepsy
4. Children With Epilepsy Feel on Par With Healthy Siblings
5. Altered brain development found in children with newly diagnosed epilepsy
6. University Hospitals Neurological Institute hosts international epilepsy colloquium
7. Children with epilepsy say their quality of life is better than their parents think
8. Gene Mutation Ups Risk of Sudden Death in People with Epilepsy
9. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder linked to high prevalence of epilepsy, Queens study
10. Purple Day March 26th: The United States Goes Purple in Support of Epilepsy Awareness
11. Implant Shows Promise for Hard-to-Treat Epilepsy
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Not All Epilepsy Drugs Raise Suicide Risk: Study
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 30, 2016 , ... Mercy College is expanding its Graduate Business ... will be expanding due to high demand: Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of ... summer. , School of Business Graduate Program Chair Dr. Ray Manganelli said: ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... Newport Beach, Calif. (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... affect us. An effective way to confront and deal with these stressors is to ... taste bad to be good for you. Risa Groux, a certified Holistic Nutritionist and ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... , ... April 29, 2016 , ... Conditions were ideal ... Cove Island Park on Sunday, with sunny skies, a light breeze and temperatures in ... $33,000. , The 5k Run and Walk and 1-mile walk were held ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... , ... Mobility Designed is redefining mobility with their patent pending crutch ... evenly distributes body weight from the elbow to the forearm. In consumer tests, ... with other crutches. , Co-founders Max and Liliana Younger were inspired to design the ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... New York City based oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. ... very effective way to treat obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Jamali is proud to offer this ... procedure that involves one or both jaw bones. This surgery is performed to correct the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/28/2016)... , Net Sales of $1.90 billion represent ... prior year period, and an increase of 1.2% on an ... for the first quarter were $0.52 reported, a decrease of ... increase of 29.9% over the prior year period , ... for 2016 Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. (NYSE and ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... 28, 2016   Acsis , a leading provider ... IT market research and advisory firm IDC has named ... MarketScape: Worldwide Pharmaceutical Track and Trace Software 2016 Vendor ... an assessment of the capabilities and business strategies of ... market. Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160427/360791LOGO ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... India , April 28, 2016 ... Pipeline Review, H1 2016" is a report that ... and helps strengthen R&D pipelines by identifying new ... products. Company Profiles discussed in this ... Industrie Farmaceutiche Riunite Srl, AbbVie Inc., Abiogen Pharma ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: