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Epilepsy Drugs

Epilepsy Drugs Side Effects May Be Linked To Suicide Lawsuits

Epilepsy Drugs| Lawsuits, Lawyers | Side Effects: Suicidal Thoughts, Suicidal Behavior, Risk Of Suicide

On January 31, 2008, the Food and Drug Administration warned that people taking epilepsy drugs were twice as likely to suffer from suicidal thoughts and behavior as those taking a placebo. Millions of people take epilepsy drugs. Such anti-seizure medications are used for a variety of illnesses in addition to epilepsy, including migraines, certain nerve-pain disorders, and psychiatric diseases such as bipolar disorder that themselves carry a risk of suicide. The FDA said it would be working with manufacturers of marketed epilepsy drugs to include this new information about suicide risks in the labeling for these products

FDA Epilepsy Drug Suicide Study

The FDA began investigating if epilepsy drugs pose any suicide risk in 2005. In doing so, the FDA analyzed almost 200 studies of 11 anti-seizure drugs, some that have been on the market for decades. Even though the FDA only looked at 11 epilepsy medications, the agency said the suicide warning applied to all epilepsy drugs. The FDA epilepsy drug analysis included the following drugs

  • 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)

The FDA studies tracked almost 28,000 people given epilepsy medications and another 16,000 given dummy pills. According to the FDA, 0.43 percent of drug-treated patients experienced suicidal thoughts or behavior, compared with 0.22 percent of placebo-takers. The higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors was observed at one week after starting a drug and continued to at least 24 weeks. The results were generally consistent among all the different drug products studied and were seen in all demographic subgroups. There was no clear pattern of risk across age groups.

Overall, four people in the drug-treated groups committed suicide, and none in the placebo groups. According to the FDA for every 1,000 patients, about two more patients taking epilepsy drugs experienced suicidal thoughts than those who took placebo.

Legal Help For Victims Affected By Epilepsy Drugs

If you or a loved one suffered from thoughts and/or behavior while taking epilepsy drugs, you may have valuable legal rights. Please fill out the form at the right for a free case evaluation by a qualified drug side effects attorney or call us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).


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Study Finds Some New Epilepsy Treatments May Up Suicide Risks

Jul 27, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP
A recent study has found evidence that the newer epilepsy drugs Keppra, Topamax, and Sabril are associated with a higher risk of suicidal behavior and self-harm. The study appears in the July 27, 2010, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study looked at all of the people 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. The participants were...

Epilepsy Drugs Linked to Birth Defects

Dec 7, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
A new study of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) has found that pregnant women taking such medications were more likely to give birth to children with certain birth defects.  The AEDs birth defect study,  which was recently presented at the 62nd Annual Meeting of the American Epilepsy Society, found that valproate was strongly associated with an increased risk of birth defects, while other AEDs such as lamotrigine and carbamazepine also showed an increased risk.To compare different AEDs with...

Valproate Raises Risk of Neural Tube Defects, Other Birth Defects, FDA Says

Dec 3, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
Valproate has been associated with a higher risk of neural tube defects and other major birth defects, such as craniofacial defects and cardiovascular malformations, when taken by pregnant women.  In a reminder to health care providers, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) said women of childbearing potential should only use valproate if it is essential to manage their medical condition.Women not actively planning a pregnancy should use effective contraception if they are taking...

Another Valproate Study Sees Problems for Developing Fetus

Jul 22, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
Children exposed to valproate in-utero may exhibit  lower IQs as toddlers than children whose mothers took other epilepsy drugs, according to the results of an interim study conducted by scientists at the University of Liverpool.Valproate is an  epilepsy drug sold under the brand names Depacon and Depakene.  In the past, various studies have raised concerns about the safety of valproate during pregnancy.  Just last December, we reported that a British study had found that...

Suicide Warnings Approved for Epilepsy Drugs

May 6, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
Federal regulators have approved new suicide warnings for more than two dozen epilepsy drugs.  The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) had ordered the label update last December, when it issued a public-health advisory regarding the association between epilepsy drugs and suicidal thoughts and behavior.The new suicide warnings will appear on the labeling of Carbatrol, Celontin, Depakene, Depakote ER, Depakote sprinkles, Depakote tablets, Dilantin, Equetro, Felbatol, Gabitril, Keppra,...

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