Association Between Antiepileptic Drugs and Incident Parkinson Disease

JAMA Neurol. 2023 Feb 1;80(2):183-187. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2022.4699.


Importance: Recent studies have highlighted an association between epilepsy and Parkinson disease (PD). The role of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) has not been explored.

Objective: To investigate the association between AEDs and incident PD.

Design, setting, and participants: This nested case-control study started collecting data from the UK Biobank (UKB) in 2006, and data were extracted on June 30, 2021. Individuals with linked primary care prescription data were included. Cases were defined as individuals with a Hospital Episode Statistics (HES)-coded diagnosis of PD. Controls were matched 6:1 for age, sex, race and ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Prescription records were searched for AEDs prescribed prior to diagnosis of PD. The UKB is a longitudinal cohort study with more than 500 000 participants; 45% of individuals in the UKB have linked primary care prescription data. Participants living in the UK aged between 40 and 69 years were recruited to the UKB between 2006 and 2010. All participants with UKB-linked primary care prescription data (n = 222 106) were eligible for enrollment in the study. Individuals with only a self-reported PD diagnosis or missing data for the matching variables were excluded. In total, 1477 individuals were excluded; 49 were excluded due to having only self-reported PD, and 1428 were excluded due to missing data.

Exposures: Exposure to AEDs (carbamazepine, lamotrigine, levetiracetam, and sodium valproate) was defined using routinely collected prescription data derived from primary care.

Main outcomes and measures: Odds ratios and 95% CIs were calculated using adjusted logistic regression models for individuals prescribed AEDs before the first date of HES-coded diagnosis of PD.

Results: In this case-control study, there were 1433 individuals with an HES-coded PD diagnosis (cases) and 8598 controls in the analysis. Of the 1433 individuals, 873 (60.9%) were male, 1397 (97.5%) had their race and ethnicity recorded as White, and their median age was 71 years (IQR, 65-75 years). An association was found between AED prescriptions and incident PD (odds ratio, 1.80; 95% CI, 1.35-2.40). There was a trend for a greater number of prescription issues and multiple AEDs being associated with a greater risk of PD.

Conclusions and relevance: This study, the first to systematically look at PD risk in individuals prescribed the most common AEDs, to our knowledge, found evidence of an association between AEDs and incident PD. With the recent literature demonstrating an association between epilepsy and PD, this study provides further insights.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Epilepsy* / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease* / drug therapy
  • Parkinson Disease* / epidemiology


  • Anticonvulsants