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Experts Warn Some Antiseizure Drugs Can Cause High Risk of Suicide

An article on Health.com recently reported that some antiseizure drugs used to treat epilepsy, depression, chronic pain, migraine, bipolar disorder, and other conditions have a higher risk of suicide and violent death than other drugs in the same class.

The article lists the anticonvulsants drugs in question as gabapentin (Neurontin), lamotrigine (Lamictal), oxcarbazepine (Trileptal), tiagabine (Gabitril), and valproate (Depakote). But experts caution that patients should not stop taking the drugs without consulting their doctor.

The warnings come after a new study was published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The findings are similar to a 2008 review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that found that taking anticonvulsants roughly doubled the risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, although the absolute risk was less than half of 1 percent. According the FDA analysis (which included 11 anitconvulsants), the risk that a person taking those drugs would exhibit suicidal behavior or have suicidal thoughts was about 1 in 230, compared to about 1 in 450 in people taking a placebo. Following their analysis, the FDA required that the label of all anitconvulsants carry a warning about this increased risk.

The article notes that the use of anticonvulsants has risen in recent years, among adults, children, and teens. Doctors are also prescribing the drugs “off-label”, meaning the drugs are not officially approved by the FDA for that condition.

To read the full article, click on this link: http://news.health.com/2010/04/13/anticonvulsants-suicide-risk/

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