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FDA Alert: Antiseizure Meds Linked To Suicidal Thoughts

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, January 31, 2008 11:48 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family, In The Workplace
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs

Anti seizure medications linked to suicidal thoughts


In an alert to doctors Thursday the FDA warned that epilepsy drugs used by million may increase the risk of suicidial thoughts. 

In an analysis of 200 differerent anti-seizure drugs, the FDA traced almost 28,000 people given the medication and compared them to 16,000 given placebos. The drug-treated patients had about twice the risk of suicidal thoughts, 0.43 compared to 0.22 among placebo takers. 

Four people committed suicide and they were all in the drug-taking group. None in the placebo group killed themselves.  The conclusion is that about two people experience suicidal thoughts among 1,000 patients. 

Antiseizure drugs are given not just for epilepsy but migraines, nerve pain disorders and bipolar disease.  Among all of those patients the risk was highest for epilepsy patients. 

The FDA wants manufacturers to put tougher warnings on the labels.

Patients are advised to understand the suicide risk and the warning signs such as becoming preoccupied with death, worsening depression and giving away prized possessions.  

Antiepileptic drugs in the analyses included the following:

 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.  #


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