Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Antiepileptic drugs and suicide-related behavior: Is it the drug or comorbidity?

Raju Sagiraju HK, Wang CP, Amuan ME, Van Cott AC, Altalib HH, Pugh MJV. Antiepileptic drugs and suicide-related behavior: Is it the drug or comorbidity? Neurology. Clinical practice. 2018 Aug 1; 8(4):331-339.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


Background: We sought to compare trends of suicide-related behavior (SRB) before and after initiation of antiepileptic drug (AED) therapy among AED users (with and without epilepsy) to that of individuals without AED use controlling for sociodemographic characteristics and mental health comorbidity. Methods: We used national Veterans Health Administration (VHA) data for post-9/11 veterans who received VHA care (2013-2014) without prior AED use. We conducted generalized estimation equation (GEE) analyses, stratified by epilepsy status and type of AED received, to assess the trend of SRB prevalence the year prior to and after the index date (date of first AED prescription/date of first health care encounter for non-AED users) controlling for sociodemographic factors and mental health comorbidity. Results: The GEE analysis showed significant curvilinear trends of SRB prevalence over the 24-month study period among the AED users, indicating that the probability of SRB diagnoses increased over time with a peak before the index month and decreased thereafter. Similar patterns were observed among non-AED users, but significantly lower odds for SRB. Among AED users, there were no significant differences by epilepsy status; however, higher SRB prevalence and differential SRB trajectory measures were observed among those who received AEDs with mood-stabilizing action. Conclusions: The peak of SRB prior to and rapid reduction in SRB after initiation of AED, and the finding that individuals eventually prescribed a mood-stabilizing AED (vs other AED or levetiracetam) had higher odds of SRB, suggests a strong possibility that the relationship of AED and SRB is one of residual confounding.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.