Cardiovascular disease and use of antiepileptic drugs


Enzyme-inducing antiseizure medications (eiASMs) have been hypothesized to be associated with long-term risks of cardiovascular disease.

In this study the authors quantify the hazard of cardiovascular secundary to eiASMs use.

Three cohorts were isolated, 1 of which comprised all adults meeting a case definition for epilepsy diagnosed after 1990, 1 comprised incident cases diagnosed after 1998 (hospital linkage date), and 1 was limited to adults diagnosed with epilepsy at 65 years or older. Outcome was incident cardiovascular disease (ischemic heart disease or ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke). Hazard of incident cardiovascular disease was evaluated using adjusted propensity-matched survival analyses and weighted cumulative exposure models.

In a propensity-matched Cox proportional hazards model adjusted for age, sex, baseline socioeconomic status, and cardiovascular risk factors, the hazard ratio for incident cardiovascular disease was 1.21 (95% CI, 1.06-1.39) for those receiving eiASMs. The absolute difference in cumulative hazard diverges by more than 1% and greater after 10 years. For those with persistent exposure beyond 4 prescriptions, the median hazard ratio increased from amedian (IQR) of 1.54 (1.28-1.79) when taking a relative defined daily dose of an eiASM of 1 to 2.38 (1.52-3.56) with a relative defined daily dose of 2 throughout a maximum of 25 years' follow-up compared with those not receiving an eiASM. The hazard was elevated but attenuated when restricting analyses to incident cases or those diagnosed when older than 65 years.

In conclusion,the hazard of incident cardiovascular disease is higher in those receiving eiASMs. The association is dose dependent and the absolute difference in hazard seems to reach clinical significance by approximately 10 years from first exposure.