Epilepsy Drugs Increase Risk of Suicide: FDA

Latest warning on side effects appears certain to rattle big pharma
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2008 6:11 PM CST
David Franklin poses for a picture in Hopkinton, Mass., Friday, April 20, 2007. In 2004, Pfizer paid $430 million in fines to settle allegations it marketed the epilepsy drug Neurontin for pain and psychiatric...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Taking epilepsy medication can double risk of suicidal behavior, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Results of a government study showed the increased risk for 11 specific drugs, including Pfizer’s Neurontin and Lyrica, but the Food and Drug Administration warned that the findings probably apply to all epilepsy medications. Labels for the drugs will be changed to reflect the risks.

"Patients who are currently taking or starting on any anti-epileptic drug should be closely monitored for notable changes in behavior that could indicate the emergence or worsening of suicidal thoughts or behavior or depression," reads the FDA’s alert. The results are bad news for Pfizer, which is already been hit with numerous lawsuits over links between Neurontin and suicide attempts.