Anticonvulsants in bipolar disorder

Charles L. Bowden, Nancy U. Karren

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objective: To review the literature on the effectiveness of anticonvulsant drugs in the management of bipolar disorder. Methods: A selective review of the literature. Results: Valproate is an effective drug, alone or in combination, for mania, but has limited benefit in bipolar depression. Although valproate is widely used in maintenance therapy of bipolar disorder, and secondary analyses suggest benefit, in the largest randomised maintenance trial there was only a trend favouring valproate. Lamotrigine has benefit in bipolar depression and maintenance, but not in mania. Carbamazepine is effective in mania. Other anticonvulsant drugs have been tried in mania, but with mixed results. Conclusions: Valproate, lamotrigine and carbamazepine have a valuable place in the management of bipolar disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)386-393
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2006


  • Anticonvulsant
  • Bipolar
  • Carbamazepine
  • Lamotrigine
  • Valproate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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