Monday, Oct 6, 2008
The FDA issued a warning on earlier this year that anti-epileptic drugs double the risk of suicidal thoughts among people that take them, regardless of whether they are used as a treatment for epilepsy or other conditions.
Anti-epileptics, also known as anticonvulsants, are taken by millions of people as treatment for epileptic seizures, bipolar disorder, and severe pain like that from migraine headaches.
“All patients who are currently taking or starting on any anti-epileptic drug should be closely monitored for notable changes in behavior that could indicate the emergence or worsening of suicidal thoughts or behavior or depression,” the FDA said. The agency also advised that doctors consider whether the benefits of prescribing the drugs outweigh the risks for each individual patient.
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The FDA warning currently applies only to the 11 anti-epileptic drugs included in the agency’s comprehensive review of 199 clinical trials: carbamazepine, marketed as Carbatrol; Equetro, Tegretol and 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 and Depacon; and zonisamide, marketed as Zonegran.
But the agency said that all anticonvulsants probably carry the same risks, and that the new warnings may be applied to the entire class of drugs.
This article was posted: Monday, October 6, 2008 at 3:43 am