Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) have many benefits but also many side effects, including aggression, agitation, and irritability, in some patients with epilepsy. This article offers a comprehensive summary of current understanding of aggressive behaviors in patients with epilepsy, including an evidence-based review of aggression during AED treatment. Aggression is seen in a minority of people with epilepsy. It is rarely seizure related but is interictal, sometimes occurring as part of complex psychiatric and behavioral comorbidities, and it is sometimes associated with AED treatment. We review the common neurotransmitter systems and brain regions implicated in both epilepsy and aggression, including the GABA, glutamate, serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline systems and the hippocampus, amygdala, prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, and temporal lobes. Few controlled clinical studies have used behavioral measures to specifically examine aggression with AEDs, and most evidence comes from adverse event reporting from clinical and observational studies. A systematic approach was used to identify relevant publications, andwe present a comprehensive, evidence-based summary of available data surrounding aggression-related behaviors with each of the currently available AEDs in both adults and in children/adolescents with epilepsy. A psychiatric history and history of a propensity toward aggression/anger should routinely be sought from patients, family members, and carers; its presence does not preclude the use of any specific AEDs, but those most likely to be implicated in these behaviors should be used with caution in such cases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine