Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 140, Issue 3, pp 739–748 | Cite as

Antiepileptic and psychiatric medication in a nationwide cohort of patients with glioma WHO grade II–IV

  • Kristin Marie Knudsen-BaasEmail author
  • Tom Børge Johannesen
  • Tor Åge Myklebust
  • Jan Harald Aarseth
  • Jone Furlund Owe
  • Nils Erik Gilhus
  • Anette Margrethe Storstein
Clinical Study



Glioma is the most common intracranial primary brain tumor. Patients with glioma often suffer from epilepsy, anxiety and depression. Aims of this study were to identify risk factors for drug-treated anxiety and depression, and to determine the use of psychiatric medication in a national glioma cohort.


Data from the Cancer Registry of Norway on all persons diagnosed with glioma WHO grade II–IV 2004–2010 were linked with data from the Norwegian Prescription Database. Cox regression analysis was used to assess risk factors for drug-treated anxiety and depression. Standardized incidence ratios were calculated for psychiatric medication dispensed to glioma patients and compared to the general population.


The glioma cohort consisted of 1056 males and 772 females. Of the 1828 patients, 565 had glioma grade II–III, and 1263 had grade IV. The patients with glioma grade II–III who were treated with levetiracetam had an increased risk for drug-treated anxiety compared to patients without levetiracetam; hazard ratio 2.8 (95% confidence interval 1.7–4.9). Female gender increased the risk for drug-treated anxiety compared to males in patients with glioma grade IV; hazard ratio 1.5 (95% confidence interval 1.2–2.0). Antidepressants were less frequently dispensed to patients with glioma grade II–III and epilepsy than to the general population.


Patients with glioma grade II–III on levetiracetam had an increased risk for drug-treated anxiety. The subgroup of patients with glioma grade II–III and epilepsy received less antidepressants than the general population.


Antiepileptic drugs Anxiety Depression Epilepsy Glioma 



Funding was provided by University of Bergen (PhD scholarship).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The Regional Committee for Medical Research Ethics (REC West), reference 2011-02280, approved all aspects of this study.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristin Marie Knudsen-Baas
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tom Børge Johannesen
    • 2
  • Tor Åge Myklebust
    • 2
    • 4
  • Jan Harald Aarseth
    • 3
  • Jone Furlund Owe
    • 3
  • Nils Erik Gilhus
    • 1
    • 3
  • Anette Margrethe Storstein
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Clinical MedicineUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Department of RegistrationCancer Registry of NorwayOsloNorway
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyHaukeland University HospitalBergenNorway
  4. 4.Department of Research and InnovationMøre and Romsdal Hospital TrustÅlesundNorway

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