Association Between Oral Fluoroquinolones and Seizures


Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the association and to estimate the crude absolute risk of seizure among patients exposed to fluoroquinolones (FQs) in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

Methods: A self-controlled case series study was conducted. Data were collected from the Hong Kong Clinical Data Analysis and Reporting System database and the Clinical Practice Research Datalink. Patients who were prescribed any oral FQ and had an incident seizure diagnosis from 2001 to 2013 were included. The risk windows were defined as pre-FQ start, FQ-exposed, and post-FQ completion. Incidence rate ratios were estimated in all risk windows and compared with baseline periods. A post hoc subgroup analysis was conducted to examine the effect of patients with a history of seizure.

Results: An increased incidence rate ratio was found in the pre-FQ start periods and no association was found in the post-FQ completion periods in both databases. The crude absolute risk of an incident seizure in 10,000 oral FQ prescriptions was 0.72 (95% confidence interval 0.47–1.10) in the Clinical Data Analysis and Reporting System and 0.40 (95% confidence interval 0.30–0.54) in the Clinical Practice Research Datalink. The rate ratio during treatment was not higher than pre-FQ start periods among patients with a history of seizure, therefore the results did not raise serious concerns.

Conclusions: This study does not support a causal association between the use of oral FQs and the subsequent occurrence of seizure. An increased risk before the FQ exposure period suggests that the clinical indication for which FQ was prescribed may have contributed to the development of seizure rather than the drug itself.

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