Issues with Medicines
Do Epilepsy Medicines Affect Depression?
Medications that are used to treat epilepsy can have both negative and positive effects on mood. Depression can be associated with many of these medications, but most prominently with phenobarbital.
Taking several medications for epilepsy may also worsen depression. When these medicines are reduced, depression may improve.
On the other hand, some epilepsy medicines have antidepressant effects. As more is learned about positive effects on mood, newer antiepileptic drugs may be helpful in the treatment of depression in people with epilepsy.
Do Depression Medicines Affect Epilepsy?
All antidepressants decrease seizure threshold to some degree. That means they make it slightly easier for a seizure to happen. However, if your depression is improved, your seizure frequency may actually get better.
Some of these medicines, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are relatively safe and offer help and hope for an improved quality of life.
Doctors try to strike a balance between the risk that someone will have more seizures when taking these medicines versus the risk of serious harm due to depression.