Seizure risk associated with neuroactive drugs: data from the WHO adverse drug reactions database

Seizure. 2010 Mar;19(2):69-73. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2009.11.005. Epub 2009 Dec 24.


Purpose: To explore the association between the use of neuroactive drugs and reports of epileptic seizures.

Material: Using the WHO adverse drug reactions (ADR) database, VigiBase, we surveyed reports of suspected seizures from 1968 until February 2006. Case reports of ADRs, that were classified as convulsions were collected and compared to the total number of ADRs reported.

Results: The total number of ADRs was 7,375,325. The number of convulsive events was 71,471. The ratio of convulsive ADRs to the total number of ADRs reported for each drug was evaluated and expressed as a percentage. The 10 drugs most frequently associated with convulsive ADRs were maprotilene (14.42%), escitaloprame (9.78%), buproprione (9.49%), clozapine (9.0%), chlorprothiexene (8.89%), amoxapine (8.74%), donepezil (8.40%), rivastigmine (6.41%), quetiapine (5.90%) and trimipramine (5.69%).

Conclusions: Based on the reports in VigiBase, ADR reports relating to antidepressants, antipsychotic and cholinomimetic drugs included seizures more often than other neuroactive drugs.

MeSH terms

  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Databases, Factual / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / chemically induced*
  • Humans
  • Risk*
  • Seizures / chemically induced*
  • World Health Organization


  • Antipsychotic Agents