Prescription of antiepileptics and the risk of road traffic crash

J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Mar;53(3):339-44. doi: 10.1002/jcph.10. Epub 2013 Feb 20.


Studies assessing the impact of epilepsy and its medication on the risk of road traffic crashes have shown inconsistent results. The aim in this study was to assess this risk using French databases. Data from three French national databases were extracted and matched: the national health care insurance database, police reports, and the national police database of injurious crashes. Only antiepileptics prescribed predominantly in epilepsy were studied (phenobarbital, phenytoin, ethosuximide, valproic acid, vigabatrin, tiagabin, levitiracetam, zonisamide, and lacosamide). A case-control analysis comparing responsible and non-responsible drivers and a case-crossover analysis were performed. Drivers (72 685) involved in an injurious crash in France between July 2005 and May 2008, were included. Drivers exposed to prescribed antiepileptic medicines (n = 251) had an increased risk of being responsible for a crash (OR 1.74 [1.29-2.34]). The association was also significant for the most severe epileptic patients (n = 99; OR = 2.20 [1.31-3.69]). Case-crossover analysis found no association between crash risk and treatment prescription. Patients with prescription of antiepileptic drugs should be cautioned about their potential risk of road traffic crash. This risk is however more likely to be related to seizures than to the effect of antiepileptic medicines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk
  • Young Adult


  • Anticonvulsants