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.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to review current epidemiological data on the use of antidepressants in co-prescription with other psychotropic drugs in children and adolescents, as well as available efficacy and safety information. A Medline search from inception until February 2012 was performed to identify epidemiological and clinical studies, reviews and reports containing potentially relevant information on polypharmacy with antidepressants in young people. There has been an increase in polypharmacy in children and adolescents involving antidepressants in recent years. Antidepressants have become one of the drug classes most frequently prescribed in combination and are commonly co-prescribed with stimulants and antipsychotics. Most information regarding efficacy and safety of polypharmacy patterns was provided by case series and open-label studies. Efficacy studies gave some support for the use of a combination of antidepressants and antipsychotics in the management of refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder and some residual symptoms in major depressive disorder. Even less empirical support was found for a combination of stimulants and antidepressants in co-morbid attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and mood or anxiety disorders. Adverse events were similar to those found with individual medication groups, with severe adverse events mostly reported by individual case reports. The use of polypharmacy with antidepressants has become a regular practice in clinical settings. Although there is still little efficacy and safety information, preliminary evidence points to the potential clinical usefulness of some polypharmacy patterns. Further research on patients with co-morbidities or more severe conditions is needed, in order to improve knowledge of this issue.
    The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 11/2012; · 5.64 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We examined response to oxcarbazepine prescribed for irritability/agitation symptoms in a retrospective case series of 30 patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The average patient was 12.0 years old (range 5-21) and taking two other psychotropic medications (range 0-4). Fourteen patients (47 %) had a clinical global impression of improvement score of 'much improved' during treatment. Ten patients (33 %) showed an improvement on their clinical global impression of severity score. Seven patients (23 %) had a clinically significant adverse event or side effect leading to oxcarbazepine discontinuation. Without a placebo group, it is not possible to evaluate whether oxcarbazepine provides benefit for irritability/agitation symptoms in ASD. The high rate of adverse events suggests its use should be accompanied by caution.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 09/2012; 43(5). · 3.06 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Jun 4, 2014