Empirical evidence for the use of lithium and anticonvulsants in children with psychiatric disorders.

Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, USA.
Harvard Review of Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 2.49). 01/2006; 14(6):285-304. DOI: 10.1080/10673220601082869
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The use of psychotropic medications-in particular, mood stabilizers--in youths with psychiatric illness has grown. There are trends toward polypharmacy and the increased use of newer mood stabilizers in youths with psychiatric illness despite a paucity of studies examining the short- and long-term efficacy and safety of these agents in the pediatric population.
PubMed was used to identify peer-reviewed publications from the past 30 years (January 1975 to August 2005) studying lithium and anticonvulsants in youths with psychiatric illness.
Evidence supporting the use of lithium and valproate in the treatment of juvenile bipolar disorder and reactive aggression has grown. Evidence for the use of other anticonvulsants in youths with psychiatric illness is sparse. Side effects from lithium and anticonvulsants are typically mild to moderate. Data are accumulating in regard to the longer-term safety of lithium and DVPX in the juvenile psychiatric population. Although data in regard to the newer anticonvulsants are limited, they may have more desirable side-effect profiles.
Double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of lithium and anticonvulsants are greatly needed as clinical use of these agents has risen without sufficient evidence supporting their efficacy in the pediatric population.

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