Psychotropic effects of antiepileptic drugs

Neurology. 2006 Dec 12;67(11):1916-25. doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000247045.85646.c0.


Background: Mood disorder symptoms are common in patients with epilepsy. Since antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) can affect these symptoms, knowledge of the psychotropic properties of AEDs is crucial. We review most studies of the psychotropic effects of AEDs that have involved potential psychiatric applications and have been reported in the psychiatric literature.

Methods: We conducted a comprehensive literature search to identify relevant clinical trial reports on the efficacy of AEDs for mood disorders.

Results: There have been few randomized controlled trials studying AED psychotropic properties in patients with epilepsy, but some randomized controlled trials of potential psychiatric indications for AEDs have been published. Data from these studies suggest that specific AEDs have mood stabilizing, anxiolytic, and antidepressant properties, while others may elicit depression, agitation, or psychosis.

Conclusion: Antiepileptic drug selection should consider potential effects on mood and behavior.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy / psychology
  • Humans
  • Mood Disorders / chemically induced
  • Mood Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Mood Disorders / psychology*
  • Psychotropic Drugs / adverse effects
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use*


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Psychotropic Drugs