The identification and treatment of children and adolescents with a bipolar disorder is often challenging and difficult. Many of the psychotropic agents used to treat adults with bipolar disorder may also be-used to treat children and adolescents with these disorders. Further controlled trials using combination pharmacotherapy in children and adolescents with bipolar disorders are needed to advance the field of pediatric bipolarity and provide optimal care for these patients. There are multiple ongoing trials of mood stabilizers and atypical antipsychotics that will provide important controlled data that are currently lacking in the field.
"Lamotrigine is an antiglutamatergic agent that decreases the activity of glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter, thus relieving depression while not affecting mania in patients with bipolar disorder.17 Therefore it is an emerging option for treatment of depression in pediatric bipolar disorder.18 A community study that examined the pattern of medication use in children and adolescents who were treated for bipolar disorder found that 15% of these patients were treated with new generation antiepileptic drugs before standard mood stabilizers.19 "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lamotrigine is a widely used medication for psychiatric disorders and epilepsy, but the adverse effects of this drug in adolescent Korean patients have not yet been investigated. In the present study, we sought to compare the incidence and impact of lamotrigine-induced skin rashes and different pattern of adverse events in psychiatric and nonpsychiatric adolescent patients.
Using a retrospective cohort design, all of the charts were reviewed for adolescents (13 to 20 years old), treated with lamotrigine during the previous 2 years in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinic and Pediatric Neurologic Clinic of the Ulsan University Hospital in South Korea.
Of the 102 subjects, 23 patients developed a skin rash. All of these rashes were observed within 7 weeks of the initiation of the lamotrigine therapy. Only one subject developed a serious rash, which was diagnosed as Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Although the psychiatric subjects were administered statistically lower doses of lamotrigine during weeks 1 through 5 and at week 12, the likelihood of developing a rash was not significantly different between the psychiatric and nonpsychiatric patients.
Careful dose escalation and close observation of side effects for the first 7 weeks of treatment is important. The present study reveals the tolerability of lamotrigine in an adolescent population, although a double-blind, controlled trial is needed to confirm these findings.
"PBD can be challenging to treat effectively . For example, although mood stabilizers and antipsychotic medications can be effective, response rates to these drugs are quite poor (Kowatch and Delbello, 2005; Pavuluri et al., 2009a). Therefore, there is an urgent need to better understand the neural mechanisms underlying treatment response and to determine what factors might predict medication responsiveness (Mayanil et al., 2011; Passarotti and Pavuluri, 2011). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to determine functional connectivity among patients with pediatric bipolar disorder (PBD) who are responders to pharmacotherapy and those who are nonresponders, and learn how they differ from healthy controls (HC) while performing a task that engages affective and cognitive neural systems. PBD participants (n = 34; 13.4 ± 2.3 years) were defined as responders if there was ≥ 50% improvement in Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) scores (n = 22) versus nonresponders with < 50% improvement (n = 12) with one of three mood stabilizing medications (divalproex, risperidone, or lamotrigine). HC (n = 14; 14.2 ± 3.1 years) participants also were scanned at baseline and follow-up. During functional magnetic resonance imaging, participants performed a color-matching task in which they had to match the color of positive, negative, or neutral words with colored dots. Independent component analysis was used to identify functionally connected networks across the whole brain, which were subsequently interrogated using region-of-interest analyses to test for group differences. A frontolimbic network was identified that showed impaired functional integration in PBD relative to HC when participants viewed negatively valenced words. PBD medication responders showed greater connectivity of the amygdala into the network before and after treatment compared with nonresponders, with responders showing a pattern more similar to HC than to nonresponders. Regardless of medication type, the degree of amygdala functional connectivity predicted medication response as well as the improvement in YMRS scores across responders and nonresponders. These findings suggest that increased functional integration of the amygdala within the frontolimbic network might be a biomarker of general mood stabilizer medication responsivity in bipolar disorder.
"For one, youth with bipolar disorder often have more psychiatric comorbidities than youth with other psychiatric disorders (Geller et al., 1994; Jerrell and Shugart, 2004; Birmaher et al., 2006; Moreno et al., 2007; Jerrell, 2008). The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) established guidelines that advise treating each disorder separately because comorbidity worsens the prognosis for youth with bipolar disorder (Kowatch and DelBello, 2005). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives: To examine longitudinal patterns of complexity, continuity, and initiation of treatment for youth diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Additionally, we explore bipolar diagnosis stability and its relationship to observed treatment patterns. Methods: A cohort of 426 privately insured youth (ages 6-18) diagnosed with bipolar disorder was identified from the 2000-2001 Thomson/Medstat-MarketScan(®) database. Medication complexity was defined as number of different psychotropic medication classes dispensed during a 6-month period following a new treatment episode of bipolar disorder. Treatment continuity was examined over a 6-month follow-up period, specifically focusing on mood stabilizing medications and antidepressant monotherapy. Predictors of complexity and continuity were investigated. Results: Fifty-five percent of youth received more than one and 25% received three or more different types of psychotropic medication classes during follow-up. This was contrasted with several youth having no prescription fills (21%) and 31% discontinuing mood stabilizing medication. Youth with a stable bipolar diagnosis were more likely to have continuity of mood stabilizing prescriptions (OR: 4.05), but also greater psychotropic medication complexity. Age, health status/comorbidity, and being in a managed care plan were also related to complexity and continuity of psychotropic medication class regimens. Conclusions: More evidence is needed on the causal patterns leading to increased psychotropic medication complexity and continuity and how diagnosis of bipolar disorder may drive treatment patterns.
Frontiers in Psychiatry 11/2010; 1:144. DOI:10.3389/fpsyt.2010.00144
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