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Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Poststroke Epilepsy: A Population-Based Nationwide Study

Chien-Chen Chou, Der-Jen Yen, Yung-Yang Lin, Yu-Chiao Wang, Cheng-Li Lin, Chia-Hung Kao
Mayo Clinic Proceedings 2017, 92 (2): 193-199
28160872

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) on poststroke epilepsy in a population-based nationwide study.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: The SSRI group included patients who received a stroke diagnosis from January 1, 2000, through December 31, 2009, and were prescribed SSRIs after stroke. The non-SSRI group enrolled patients with stroke who were not prescribed SSRIs from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database and used propensity score matching based on the index year, duration time, sex, age, type of stroke, and duration of hospitalization. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the risk of epilepsy between the SSRI and comparison groups.

RESULTS: A total of 4688 patients with stroke (2344 in each of the SSRI and non-SSRI cohorts) were enrolled. The cumulative incidence of epilepsy in the SSRI group was significantly higher than that in the comparison group (log-rank P<.001). In the SSRI group, the risk of poststroke epilepsy increased 2.45-fold (95% CI, 1.69- to 3.57-fold) compared with that in the comparison group. Furthermore, the risk of poststroke epilepsy increased with the defined daily dose of SSRIs. For patients with ischemic stroke, SSRIs users had a 2.74-fold higher risk of epilepsy than non users (95% CI, 1.79- to 4.22-fold).

CONCLUSION: In this study, SSRI users had a higher risk of poststroke epilepsy than nonusers. Further study is warranted to investigate the causal relationship between SSRI exposure and poststroke epilepsy.

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