Effects of Lamotrigine on Mood in Older Adults with Epilepsy and Co-Morbid Depressive Symptoms

Department of Neurology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40536, USA.
Drugs & Aging (Impact Factor: 2.84). 11/2008; 25(11):955-62. DOI: 10.2165/0002512-200825110-00006
Source: PubMed


Both epilepsy and depressive symptoms are more prevalent in older individuals than in any other age group. Furthermore, depressive symptoms are among the most common interictal psychiatric co-morbid disorders in people with epilepsy. For these reasons, pharmacological treatment of epilepsy that might also confer antidepressant effects may be particularly beneficial in older patients. In this respect, lamotrigine is of considerable interest amongst antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) because it has proven thymoleptic activity.
These analyses, conducted on a data set drawn from a previously reported, open-label, multicentre, prospective study, examined the effect of lamotrigine on mood in adults aged>or=50 years with epilepsy and co-morbid depressive symptoms. All subjects were receiving background AED therapy at baseline.
Of the 158 subjects enrolled in the initial study, 40 adults (24 women, 16 men) met the age criterion for these analyses. The study consisted of a screening/baseline phase and four treatment phases over 36 weeks: lamotrigine escalation phase (7 weeks); lamotrigine maintenance or adjunctive therapy phase (12 weeks); concomitant AED withdrawal phase (5 weeks); and lamotrigine monotherapy phase (12 weeks). Psychometric evaluation of mood utilized the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II), Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), the Neurological Disorders Depression Inventory in Epilepsy (NDDI-E) and the Profile of Mood States (POMS). Scores at the end of the adjunctive and monotherapy phases were compared with baseline scores. Lower scores on these scales indicate less depressive symptomatology.
Mean baseline scores for the BDI-II, CES-D, NDDI-E and POMS were 15.8, 24.3, 13.8 and 57.7, respectively. Change scores were statistically significant (p<0.01) compared with baseline at the end of the adjunctive and monotherapy phases for all four psychometric measures of mood, with the exceptions of BDI-II and NDDI-E at the end of the adjunctive phase.
The older adults in these analyses presented with low to moderate levels of depressive symptoms. Addition of lamotrigine to background AED therapy demonstrated antidepressant activity similar to that for the whole sample in the initial study. Given that the onset and prevalence of epilepsy are higher in older adults than in any other age group, pharmacological treatment for epilepsy in older patients that might also confer antidepressant therapy may be particularly beneficial.

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    • "The NDDI-E is a short instrument designed to detect depression in epilepsy patients, providing a total score. Whilst the NDDI-E has been used as an outcome measure in clinical trials [90,91], this may have been inappropriate as it was designed as a screening tool, and therefore its ability to detect change is not only unknown but potentially unlikely given that it was not designed to capture change. "
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    ABSTRACT: Despite collection of patient reported outcome (PRO) data in clinical trials of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), PRO results are not being routinely reported on European Medicines Agency (EMA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) product labels. This review aimed to evaluate epilepsy-specific PRO instruments against FDA regulatory standards for supporting label claims. Structured literature searches were conducted in Embase and Medline databases to identify epilepsy-specific PRO instruments. Only instruments that could potentially be impacted by pharmacological treatment, were completed by adults and had evidence of some validation work were selected for review. A total of 26 PROs were reviewed based on criteria developed from the FDA regulatory standards. The ability to meet these criteria was classified as either full or partial, whereby partial reflected some evidence but not enough to comprehensively address the FDA regulatory standards. Most instruments provided partial evidence of content validity. Input from clinicians and literature was common although few involved patients in both item generation and cognitive debriefing. Construct validity was predominantly compromised by no evidence of a-priori hypotheses of expected relationships. Evidence for test-retest reliability and internal consistency was available for most PROs although few included complete results regarding all subscales and some failed to reach recommended thresholds. The ability to detect change and minimally important difference/responder definition were not investigated in most instruments and no PROs had published evidence of a conceptual framework. The study concludes that none of the 26 have the full evidence required by the FDA to support a label claim, and all require further research to support their use as an endpoint. The Subjective Handicap of Epilepsy (SHE) and the Neurological Disorders Depression Inventory for Epilepsy (NDDI-E) have the fewest gaps that would need to be addressed through additional research prior to any FDA regulatory submission, although the NDDI-E was designed as a screening tool and is therefore unlikely to be suitable as an instrument for capturing change in a clinical trial and the SHE lacks the conceptual focus on signs and symptoms favoured by the FDA.
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