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FDA warns of suicide risk with use of epilepsy drugs


Epilepsy drugs used by millions of people may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior, federal regulators warned in an alert to doctors.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration analyzed almost 200 studies of 11 different anti-seizure drugs, some that have been on the market for decades. The studies tracked almost 28,000 people given the medications and another 16,000 given dummy pills.

Very rarely were suicidal thoughts or behavior reported. Still, the FDA found drug-treated patients did face about twice the risk: 0.43 percent of drug-treated patients experienced suicidal thoughts or behavior compared with 0.22 percent of placebo-takers.

Overall, four people in the drug-treated groups committed suicide, and none in the placebo groups.

What that means: For every 1,000 patients, about two more drug-treated patients experienced suicidal thoughts than placebotakers, FDA concluded.

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