• Bidirectional relation;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Incidence;
  • Schizophrenia


Purpose:  Schizophrenia and epilepsy may share a mutual susceptibility. This study examined the bidirectional relation between the two disorders.

Methods:  We used claims data obtained from the Taiwan National Health Insurance database to conduct retrospective cohort analyses. Analysis 1 compared 5,195 patients with incident schizophrenia diagnosed in 1999–2008 with 20,776 controls without the disease randomly selected during the same period, frequency matched with sex and age. Analysis 2 comprised a similar method to compare 11,527 patients with newly diagnosed epilepsy with 46,032 randomly selected sex- and age-matched controls. At the end of 2008, analysis 1 measured the incidence and risk of developing epilepsy and analysis 2 measured the incidence and risk of developing schizophrenia.

Key Findings:  In analysis 1, the incidence of epilepsy was higher in the schizophrenia cohort than in the nonschizophrenia cohort (6.99 vs. 1.19 per 1,000 person-years) with an adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) of 5.88 [95% confidence interval (CI) 4.71–7.36] for schizophrenia patients. In analysis 2, the incidence of schizophrenia was higher in the epilepsy cohort than in the nonepilepsy comparison cohort (3.53 vs. 0.46 per 1,000 person-years) with an aHR of 7.65 (95% CI 6.04–9.69) for epilepsy patients. The effect of schizophrenia on subsequent epilepsy was greater for women, but the association between epilepsy and elevated incidence of schizophrenia was more pronounced in men.

Significance:  We found a strong bidirectional relation between schizophrenia and epilepsy. These two conditions may share common causes. Further studies on the mechanism are required.