Pharmacopsychiatry 2018; 51(04): 121-135
DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-117962
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Epileptic Seizures Under Antidepressive Drug Treatment: Systematic Review

Tilman Steinert
1  Centres for Psychiatry Suedwuerttemberg, Clinic for Psychiatry I, Ulm University
Walter Fröscher
2  Centre of Epilepsy Bodensee
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

received 10 April 2017
revised 10 July 2017

accepted 30 July 2017

Publication Date:
29 August 2017 (eFirst)


Objective This paper is a systematic review on seizures under treatment with substances licensed for major depression.

Method Systematic review protocol is available in PROSPERO registration number CRD42016034010. Twenty-five substances were selected according to frequencies of prescriptions and publications. A PubMed search was conducted with “substance name” and “seizure.”

Results A total of 2291 articles were screened, out of which 164 fulfilled inclusion criteria. Data synthesis was possible only to a limited extent due to heterogeneity of included patients, observation periods, methods, and outcomes. Evidence for an at most moderate, but still low, risk (>0.1% under regular doses) was found highest for clomipramine, followed by quetiapine, amitriptyline, venlafaxine, citalopram, sertraline, trazodone, mirtazapine, paroxetine, bupropion, and escitalopram. For fluoxetine and duloxetine, the risk seems to be negligible. For the other, mostly newer, substances, sufficient evidence was not available. An increased risk for lithium, as reported in many reviews and textbooks, could not be confirmed.

Conclusions Antidepressive treatment is rather safe in terms of risk of seizures and also can be generally recommended in the treatment of patients with epilepsy.