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Epilepsy Drugs Induce Increased Suicidal Tendencies Among Youth: Study

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Epilepsy, a chronic disorder, characterized by recurrent, unprovoked seizures, is the fourth most common neurological disorder, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. The most commonly prescribed medications for epilepsy, Pregabalin and Gabapentin, belong to a class of drugs known as gabapentinoids. These drugs carry a warning about an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

A study which analyzed the longer term harms of gabapentinoids suggests that treatment with gabapentinoids was associated with increased risks of suicidal behavior or death from suicide, unintentional overdose, head or body injuries and road traffic incidents or offences, with participants aged 15-24 being the most vulnerable group.

Of the two drugs, Pregabalin and Gabapentin, it was Pregabalin that was associated with increased risks of harm.

The study, conducted by Molero Larsson and colleagues, used data from a large cohort of almost 200, 000 people who were prescribed gabapentinoids in Sweden between 2006 and 2013.

The findings of the study are published in The BMJ.

Following the spurt in the number of fatalities linked to Pregabalin and Gabapentin, the two drugs were reclassified as class C controlled substances in the UK in April 2019.

The reclassification means that the drugs are still available for legitimate use on prescription, but there will be stronger controls in place to ensure accountability and minimize the chances of Pregabalin and Gabapentin falling into the wrong hands or being stockpiled by patients. (Source: Govt.UK).

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