Doctors raise questions, concerns about FDA suicide warning

December 9, 2008

Medical specialists at the nation's largest professional meeting on epilepsy discussed multiple questions and concerns they have about data presented by the FDA in support of its recent suicide alert on anticonvulsant drugs (AEDs) and the potential effect of the federal agency's analyses on clinical practice and the way AED drug trials are to be conducted in the future.

It is well known that non-adherence to antiepileptic drug therapy can lead to a dramatic increase in accidents and deaths. For these reasons, epileptic experts believe it is imperative that patients continue their antiepileptic therapy to prevent the occurrence of serious accidents and death.

During the American Epilepsy Society's annual meeting, epidemiologists, epileptologists and psychiatrists offered a critical review of the FDA's methodology and analyses, describe the suicide alert's potential impact on patient compliance and seizure management, and its likely effect on the selection of patients for AED regulatory studies.

Among the doctors' concerns is that news reports of the FDA's analyses have confused patients and, perhaps, some physicians on the risks associated with epilepsy drugs. They cite data showing that the risk of suicide possibly associated with AEDs is extremely small compared to the potential danger of leaving patients untreated. Also of concern is that epilepsy patients prone to suicidal ideation or behavior will be excluded from clinical trials of new AEDs.

Source: American Epilepsy Society

Explore further: Use of certain anticonvulsant medications may be associated with increased risk of suicide

Related Stories

Review: Reports on Pfizer drug studies misleading

November 11, 2009

(AP) -- Analysis of a dozen published studies testing possible new uses for a Pfizer Inc. epilepsy drug found that reporting of the results was often fudged, indicating the medicine worked better than internal company documents ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.