Epilepsy and Acute Respiratory Syndrome – Related Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2): Are people with epilepsy at risk?


  • Isabella D’Andrea Meira Meira
  • Tayla Taynan Romão
  • Marilia Bezerra Martins
  • Vanessa Cristina Colares Lessa






In February 2020, the pandemic disease designated COVID-19, caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has shown to be able to cause severe illness in some patients. Recent studies have hypothesized that the SARS-CoV-2 exploits the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor to gain entry inside the cells and so reach the central nervous system1. Amid this context, we have about 50 million people with epilepsy taking antiseizure drugs (ASDs) and or other medications (eg.: steroids, Cannabidiol, etc.) that are at risk to be infected by SARS-CoV-2 virus. So, we did an extensive review in the literature searching for recent studies that had explored the effects of the role of SARS-CoV-2 infection and epilepsy. We did not find evidence of poor outcomes between epilepsy and COVID-19. Regarding ASDs, we have found that enzyme inducers and inhibitors can have significant interactions with drugs that have been used to treat COVID-19 such as antiretrovirals, antibiotics, and antimalarial drugs. In contrast, others have fewer or no interactions with them as such as benzodiazepines, Lamotrigine, Levetiracetam, Topiramate, Perampanel, and so on. Besides that, the management of seizures in epileptic patients and status epilepticus should not be different from the usual protocol. However, the acknowledgment of these potential drug interactions could help in the right choice of ASDs, and also be aware of potential risk drug combinations and the importance in some cases of close monitoring of serum levels and adverse events.