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News

Patients with epilepsy more vulnerable to behavioral side effects than people with other brain disorders

Yale University : 28 May, 2003  (New Product)
Patients with epilepsy may be more likely to experience treatment-related behavioral side effects than patients receiving the same drug for other brain disorders, according to a 4,179-patient case review by a Yale School of Medicine researcher published in the May issue of the journal, Epilepsy and Behavior.
Patients with epilepsy may be more likely to experience treatment-related behavioral side effects than patients receiving the same drug for other brain disorders, according to a 4,179-patient case review by a Yale School of Medicine researcher published in the May issue of the journal, Epilepsy and Behavior.

The review compared behavioral side effects such as anxiety, depression or moodiness in patients with epilepsy being treated with an antiepileptic drug versus patients receiving the same drug to treat anxiety and cognitive disorders.

'We have found an underlying susceptibility to behavioral side effects linked to epilepsy itself, not caused by any particular antiepileptic drug,' said Joyce Cramer, lead investigator of the study and associate research scientist in the Department of Psychiatry. 'AEDs continue to be a useful tool to treat epilepsy because such side effects occur in few patients overall, but what this research has really done is provide us with new insight into the way people with epilepsy respond to drugs.'

Approximately 2.3 million Americans suffer from epilepsy, which is more common worldwide than Alzheimer's disease. Epilepsy is a chronic disorder causing recurrent seizures, which are disturbances in the normal electrical function of the brain.

The review analyzed behavioral adverse events occurring among adults receiving levetiracetam or placebo in short-term, placebo-controlled studies of epilepsy, cognitive disorders or anxiety disorders, as well as epilepsy patients observed in long-term trials. Behavioral side effects were significantly more common among patients with epilepsy than cognition or anxiety patients treated for similar durations.

'Levetiracetam was evaluated for this study because of the large database of placebo-controlled trials available,' said Cramer. 'However, based on an evaluation of product labels, we found that all AEDs have the potential for increasing behavioral side effects in some patients. More research is needed to understand why.'
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