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The Use of Caffeine by People with Epilepsy: the Myths and the Evidence

P R Bauer & J W Sander, 2019.
Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep Volume 19 (6)
May 17, 2019


Purpose of Review:

Caffeine is the most widely consumed central nervous stimulant. For people with epilepsy, it is often unclear whether drinking coffee carries a risk of triggering seizures.

Recent Findings:

The relationship between caffeine, seizures, epilepsy, and anti-seizure drugs is not fully understood. Clinical studies are scarce. In animal models, caffeine can increase seizure susceptibility but can also protect from seizures. Effects seem dose-dependent and are influenced by the duration of intake and the developmental stage at which caffeine exposure started. Caffeine reduces the efficacy of several anti-seizure medications, especially topiramate.


It is unclear how these findings, mainly from animal studies, can be translated to the clinical condition. At present, there is no evidence to advise people with epilepsy against the use or overuse of caffeine. Until clinical studies suggest otherwise, caffeine intake should be considered as a factor in achieving and maintaining seizure control in epilepsy.

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