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Epilepsy and psychosis: a practical approach
  1. Melissa Maguire1,
  2. Jasvinder Singh2,
  3. Anthony Marson3,4
  1. 1 Department of Neurology, Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds, UK
  2. 2 Department of Neuropsychiatry, Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  3. 3 Department of Neurology, The Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
  4. 4 The Department of Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, Uk
  1. Correspondence to Dr Melissa Maguire, Department of Neurology, Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds, UK; maguirem{at}


The psychoses of epilepsy can be classified according to their temporal relationship with seizures, namely as ictal, postictal and interictal psychosis. Interictal psychosis is the most common and may resemble schizophrenia. They can be challenging to diagnose and to manage, especially given the perception that some antipsychotic drugs may exacerbate seizures, while some antiepileptic medications may worsen psychosis. The current uncertainty around their best management means that some patients may not receive appropriate care. We propose a practical stepwise approach to managing psychosis in patients with epilepsy, summarising the key clinical features. We provide a framework for diagnosis, investigation and management of psychosis in the acute and long term. We also summarise the available evidence on the risk of psychosis with current antiepileptic drugs and the risk of seizures with antipsychotic drugs.

  • epilepsy
  • psychosis

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  • Contributors JS is the coauthor along with MM, who is the first author. MM was responsible for drafting the review and final approval of the published version. JS contributed to the writing and content of the final review. AGM provided critical appraisal of the review and overall guidance.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed. This paper was reviewed by Alan Carson, Edinburgh, UK, and Rajiv Mohanraj, Manchester, UK.

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