Epilepsy Home > Sudden Unexplained Death Syndrome

What Is Sudden Unexplained Death Syndrome?

For reasons that are poorly understood, people with epilepsy have an increased risk of dying suddenly for no discernible reason. This condition, called sudden unexplained death, can occur in people without epilepsy, but epilepsy increases the risk about twofold.

What Causes Sudden Unexplained Death Syndrome?

Researchers are still unsure why sudden unexplained death occurs. One study suggested that the use of more than two anticonvulsant drugs may be a risk factor.
It is not clear whether the use of multiple drugs causes the sudden death, or whether people who use multiple anticonvulsants have a greater risk of death because they have more severe types of epilepsy.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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