Not all epilepsy drugs may be linked to suicide risk


All epilepsy drugs carry a warning about an increased risk of suicidal behavior, but only certain newer medications could be connected to the hazard, a newly published study suggests.

In a study of 44,300 UK patients who used epilepsy drugs between 1990 and 2005, researchers found an increased risk of suicide only among current users of certain newer medications that have previously been linked to a risk of depression.

Those drugs include topiramate (Topamax), tiagabine (Gabitril), levetiracetam (Keppra) and vigabatrin (Sabril).

The findings were published in the journal Neurology. In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration started requiring all epilepsy drugs to carry a warning about the risk of suicidal behavior.

That requirement came from studying 199 clinical trials testing 11 different epilepsy medications, which found that patients receiving medication had a higher rate of suicidal thoughts and behavior during the study periods than those given a placebo.