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Antiepileptics Don't Raise Risk of Suicide in Epilepsy Patients

Are linked to higher risk in those with depression or without epilepsy, depression, bipolar disorder

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Use of antiepileptic drugs isn't linked to a higher risk of suicide-related events in patients with epilepsy, but it is linked to higher risk in patients with depression and those without epilepsy, depression, or bipolar disorder, according to research published in the Aug. 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Alejandro Arana, M.D., of Risk MR Pharmacovigilance Services in Zaragoza, Spain, and colleagues analyzed data from 5,130,795 patients in the Health Improvement Network database from the United Kingdom, who were representative of the general population.

The researchers found that, in patients with epilepsy or bipolar disorder, antiepileptic drugs weren't associated with higher risk of attempted or completed suicide (odds ratios, 0.59 for epilepsy and 1.13 for bipolar disorder, the latter of which had a confidence interval containing 1.0). Use of these medications was significantly associated with higher risk in individuals with depression (odds ratio, 1.65), and people without epilepsy, depression, or bipolar disorder (odds ratio, 2.57).

"Our analyses of observational data collected as part of clinical practice in the United Kingdom confirmed the previously reported increased risk of suicide-related events associated with epilepsy, depression, and bipolar disorder. Our findings suggest that treatment with antiepileptic drugs does not confer an additional risk of suicide-related events among patients with epilepsy," the authors write.

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