Depression in patients with epilepsy (PWE) is a relatively common comorbidity that has a significant negative impact on their quality of life. Therefore, recognition and management of a comorbid depressive disorder is paramount to achieve successful comprehensive treatment in PWE. Depression in epilepsy may mimic primary depressive disorders, but in a significant percentage of depressed PWE, the clinical semiology has an atypical presentation and fails to meet any of the diagnostic criteria established in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Despite the relatively high prevalence of depression in epilepsy and its frequent atypical presentation, there has been only one controlled study (in 1979) to establish the safety and efficacy of antidepressant drugs in PWE. Accordingly, clinicians must rely on data from studies of pharmacotherapy of primary depression. These data are adequate to guide the clinician in the basic principles of pharmacotherapy of depression in PWE. Many questions are yet to be answered, including: 1) are the expectations of symptom remission to pharmacotherapy in PWE different in typical and atypical forms of depression, and do they differ from those of patients with primary depression? and 2) are the doses of antidepressant drugs necessary to yield symptom remission different between PWE and those patients with primary mood disorders?
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology