There are several important things to consider in the use of complementary/alternative medications for depression in people with epilepsy.
The first is: do they work? The herb most frequently used for depression is hypericum or St. John's Wort. Studies so far have not been able to prove whether it is effective.
The second concern is: can these drugs interfere with the medicines used in the treatment of epilepsy?
The side effects of St. John's Wort so far appear to be low. However, there is a possibility that it might interact with the following widely used antiepileptic drugs: phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek), carbamazepine (Tegretol, Carbatrol), and phenobarbital.
Another concern is: could an herbal remedy make seizures worse? Any herbal treatment that contains ephedrine and/or caffeine can worsen seizure control.
Although there have been no formal studies, some people report that ginkgo and ginseng may also increase the risk of seizures.
It is important to remember that natural compounds are still, in fact, drugs and need to be treated and investigated as such. Until more is known, using them is a risk. Before adding any additional medications or treatments, you should discuss with your health care team.