Should antidepressant drugs of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor family be tested as antiepileptic drugs?

Hamada Hamid, Andres M Kanner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations


For a long time, there has been a misconception that all antidepressant drugs have proconvulsant effects. Yet, antidepressants of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) family not only have been shown to be safe when used in patients with epilepsy (PWE) but also have been found to possess antiepileptic properties in animal models of epilepsy. In humans randomized to SSRIs vs. placebo for the treatment of major depressive episodes, the incidence of epileptic seizures was significantly lower among those treated with the antidepressants. These data raise the question of whether there is enough evidence that would support a randomized placebo-controlled trial to test antiepileptic effect of SSRIs in PWE. This article reviews the preclinical and clinical data to address this question.This article is part of a Special Issue entitled "The Future of Translational Epilepsy Research".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-265
Number of pages5
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013



  • Genetically epilepsy-prone rats
  • Intractable epilepsy
  • Raphe nuclei
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neurology

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