The use of psychotropic drugs in epilepsy: What every neurologist should know

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35 Scopus citations


Psychiatric disorders, such as mood, anxiety, attention deficit, and psychotic disorders, are among the most frequent comorbidities experienced by patients with epilepsy. While these psychiatric disorders have typically been considered as one of its complications, there is increasing evidence of a bidirectional relationship between the seizure disorder and mood and ADHD. Indeed, not only are patients with epilepsy at greater risk of developing these two disorders, but patients with mood and attention deficit disorders are at greater risk of developing epilepsy. Comorbid psychiatric disorders have a negative impact on the quality of life of patients with epilepsy. For patients with pharmacoresistant epilepsy, mood disorders are a stronger predictor of a worse perception of their quality of life than is their seizure frequency and severity. Thus, the use of psychotropic drugs is often necessary in patients with epilepsy, be they children or adults. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions regarding the safety of psychotropic drugs, particularly of antidepressants and central nervous system stimulants, which are often erroneously thought of as being "proconvulsant." Such misconceptions have resulted in the undertreatment of psychiatric comorbidities in patients with epilepsy. This article provides a practical review of the use of antidepressants, central nervous system stimulants, and antipsychotic drugs in patients with epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-388
Number of pages10
JournalSeminars in Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Antipsychotic drugs
  • Attention deficit disorders
  • Central nervous system stimulants
  • Mood disorders
  • Selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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