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This article is the author’s final published version in Current Medical Research and Opinion, Volume 36, Issue 9, September 2020, Pages 1473 - 1480.

The published version is available at Copyright © Mesraoua et al.


In this narrative review, we will discuss some of the significant risks and dramatic consequences that are associated with epilepsy: depression, suicide, seizure-related injuries, and mortality, both in adults and in children. Considering the high prevalence of depression among people with epilepsy (PWE), routine and periodic screening of all PWE for early detection and appropriate management of depression is recommended. PWE should be screened for suicidal ideation regularly and when needed, patients should be referred for a psychiatric evaluation and treatment. When starting an antiepileptic drug (AED) or switching from one to another AED, patients should be advised to report to their treating physician any change in their mood and existence of suicidal ideation. The risk of injuries for the general epilepsy population is increased only moderately. The risk is higher in selected populations attending epilepsy clinics and referral centers. This being said, there are PWE that may suffer frequent, severe, and sometimes even life-threatening seizure-related injuries. The most obvious way to reduce risk is to strive for improved seizure control. Finally, PWE have a 2-3 times higher mortality rate than the general population. Deaths in PWE may relate to the underlying cause of epilepsy, to seizures (including sudden unexpected death in epilepsy [SUDEP] and seizure related injuries) and to status epilepticus, as well as to other conditions that do not appear directly related to epilepsy. Improving seizure control and patient education may be the most important measures to reduce epilepsy related mortality in general and SUDEP in particular.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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