Antiepileptic drug effects on mood and behavior: Molecular targets

Piero Perucca, Marco Mula

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


With almost 100. years of clinical experience, antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) remain the mainstay of epilepsy treatment. They suppress epileptic seizures by acting on a variety of mechanisms and molecular targets involved in the regulation of neuronal excitability. These include inhibitory-GABAergic and excitatory-glutamatergic neurotransmission, as well as ion (sodium and calcium) conductance through voltage-gated channels. On the other hand, accruing evidence indicates that these mechanisms and targets are also implicated in the regulation of mood and behavior, which may explain why each AED is associated with specific psychotropic effects. These effects, however, cannot be explained solely on the basis of the known mode of action of each AED, and other mechanisms or targets are likely to be implicated. In this article, we review positive and negative effects of AEDs on mood and behavior, discuss putative underlying mechanisms, and highlight knowledge gaps which should be addressed in future studies.This article is part of a Special Issue entitled "The Future of Translational Epilepsy Research".

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-449
Number of pages10
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Antiepileptic drugs
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • Lacosamide
  • Psychosis
  • Retigabine

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