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Current use of antiepileptic drugs is associated with an increased risk of suicidality in people with depression but not in people with epilepsy or bipolar disorder

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Are antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) associated with an increased risk of attempted or completed suicide?


5 130 795 people enrolled with a general practice for ≥6 months during the study period identified using The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database. People with a history of one or more suicide attempts or a family history of suicide were excluded. The THIN database includes the anonymised medical records of more than 6.7 million people collected by their general practitioner and is representative of the general population of the UK. For the case–control part of the study, for each case with suicide-related events five age-, gender- and practice-matched controls were selected. When looking at the effect of AED use within specific diagnostic groups, another set of controls was selected and matched to cases for psychiatric or neurological diagnosis.


General population, UK; 1 July 1988 to 31 March 2008.

Risk factors

Use of AEDs available in the UK and included in a previous Food and Drug Administration meta-analysis on the effects of AEDs on suicidality (carbamazepine, gabapentin, lamotrigine, levetiracetam, oxcarbazepine, pregabalin, tiagabine, topiramate, valproate and zonisamide). Current use was defined as having …

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  • Source of funding Sepracor.


  • Competing interests None.

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