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This article was published in August 2013. The information may be out of date. Please check our epilepsy information or our site A-Z.

US neurologists ‘unaware’ of drug safety warnings

22 Aug 2013

Twenty per cent of US neurologists are not up-to-date with recent side-effect warnings that come with anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs), a survey has found.

American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warnings about risks associated with AED use have recently been updated. Among the updates were notifications about:

  • Greater risk of suicide with newer drugs
  • Greater risk of birth defects in pregnant women
  • A need for increased screening in patients of Asian descent.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore surveyed 505 neurologists. About 1 in 5 of them said they were not aware of the recent warnings. The results of the study have been published in the scientific journal, Epilepsy and Behaviour. The study found that neurologists found out information about AEDs from a variety of sources. However, there was no uniform system in place to help them with this.

The most likely place that a neurologist would gain information on AEDs from was a professional organisation (like the American Academy of Neurology). They would also be likely to get information from scientific journals, their colleagues and continuing medical education. They were least likely to get information from the FDA website.

The warnings the study looked at apply to some of the newer AEDs available only. If you have any concerns about the safety of your AEDs, you should discuss this with your family doctor or specialist.

Read the full journal article here.

More on anti-epileptic drugs.







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