Proconvulsant effects of antidepressants - What is the current evidence?

Epilepsy Behav. 2016 Aug;61:287-291. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2016.01.029. Epub 2016 Feb 24.


Antidepressant drugs may have proconvulsant effects. Psychiatric comorbidity in epilepsy is common. Prescribers might be reluctant to initiate treatment with antidepressants in fear of seizure aggravation. The purpose of this review was to focus upon the current evidence for proconvulsant effects of antidepressants and possible clinical implications. Most antidepressants are regarded as safe and may be used in patients with epilepsy, such as the newer serotonin and/or noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors. Four older drugs should, however, be avoided or used with caution; amoxapine, bupropion, clomipramine and maprotiline. Proconvulsant effects are concentration-related. Optimization of drug treatment includes considerations of pharmacokinetic variability to avoid high serum concentrations of the most proconvulsant antidepressants. The risk of seizures is regarded as small and should, therefore, not hamper the pharmacological treatment of depression in people with epilepsy.

Keywords: Antidepressant drugs; Drug safety; Proconvulsant; Seizures.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Depressive Disorder / complications
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Epilepsy / chemically induced*
  • Epilepsy / complications
  • Humans
  • Seizures / chemically induced*
  • Seizures / complications


  • Antidepressive Agents