Psychiatric adverse effects of zonisamide in patients with epilepsy and mental disorder comorbidities

Andrea E Cavanna, Stefano Seri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Over the last few years, zonisamide has been proposed as a potentially useful medication for patients with focal seizures, with or without secondary generalization. Since psychiatric adverse effects, including mania, psychosis, and suicidal ideation, have been associated with its use, it was suggested that the presence of antecedent psychiatric disorders is an important factor associated with the discontinuation of zonisamide therapy in patients with epilepsy. We, therefore, set out to assess the tolerability profile of zonisamide in a retrospective chart review of 23 patients with epilepsy and comorbid mental disorders, recruited from two specialist pediatric (n=11) and adult (n=12) neuropsychiatry clinics. All patients had a clinical diagnosis of treatment-refractory epilepsy after extensive neurophysiological and neuroimaging investigations. The vast majority of patients (n=22/23, 95.7%) had tried previous antiepileptic medications, and most adult patients (n=9/11, 81.8%) were on concomitant medication for epilepsy. In the majority of cases, the psychiatric adverse effects of zonisamide were not severe. Four patients (17.4%) discontinued zonisamide because of lack of efficacy, whereas only one patient (4.3%) discontinued it because of the severity of psychiatric adverse effects (major depressive disorder). The low discontinuation rate of zonisamide in a selected population of patients with epilepsy and neuropsychiatric comorbidity suggests that this medication is safe and reasonably well-tolerated for use in patients with treatment-refractory epilepsy. Given the limitations of the present study, including the relatively small sample size, further research is warranted to confirm this finding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-4
Number of pages4
JournalEpilepsy & Behavior
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anticonvulsants/adverse effects
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy/drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isoxazoles/adverse effects
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders/drug therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychotic Disorders/etiology
  • Zonisamide


Dive into the research topics of 'Psychiatric adverse effects of zonisamide in patients with epilepsy and mental disorder comorbidities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this