Suicide link with epilepsy drugs examined

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is asking 14 drug manufacturers to check their data for any evidence that epilepsy drugs trigger suicidal thoughts or behaviour.

The request for a review is similar to one the FDA made in 2003 regarding antidepressants and suicidal behaviour in children, which resulted in a "black box" warning, the FDA's toughest, on the drugs' labels last year. The companies have six months to respond to the FDA request.

The current case is only the second review of that type says Robert Temple of the FDA's Centre for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Research firm IMS Health, says anti-seizure drugs sales were the fifth-largest drug category in the U.S. last year, mainly because they are also used for ailments other than epilepsy, like pain and migraines. Epilepsy affects an estimated 2.7 million Americans.

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