Antiepileptic drugs and suicidality

Konstantinos N. Fountoulakis, Xenia Gonda, Myrto Samara, Marianna Siapera, Vaggelis Karavelas, Dragana I. Ristic, Apostolos Iacovides

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

16 Citations (Scopus)


The current study is a systematic review of the literature concerning the possible relationship of antiepileptics and suicide-related clinical features and behaviours. A MEDLINE search returned 863 papers but only five were chosen as relevant. A critical analysis of the Food and Drug Administration report is also included. Overall, the current review suggests there are no convincing data concerning a 'class effect' of antiepileptics in inducing any type of suicide-related behaviours. Further research is needed concerning topiramate, lamotrigine and maybe leviracetam. Clinicians are expected to inform patients and their families on the possible increased risk but it is important not to overemphasise the issue, since stopping or refusing to start antiepileptics may result in serious harm, including death of the patient. Future randomised controlled trials should specifically focus on issues concerning depression and suicidal thoughts in patients with epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1401-1407
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2012



  • Suicidality
  • anticonvulsants
  • antiepileptics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

Cite this

Fountoulakis, K. N., Gonda, X., Samara, M., Siapera, M., Karavelas, V., Ristic, D. I., & Iacovides, A. (2012). Antiepileptic drugs and suicidality. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 26(11), 1401-1407.