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Epilepsy and psychosis: a practical approach


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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