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Divalproex Treatment of Disruptive Adolescents: A Report of 10 Cases

J Clin Psychiatry 1997;58(1):12-15

Background: To report an open trial of divalproex sodium in 10 adolescents with chronic temper outbursts and mood lability.

Method: Ten adolescents meeting screening criteria for chronic temper outbursts and mood lability were followed for 5 consecutive weeks on open divalproex sodium treatment. Temper outburst frequency and mood swings severity at pretreatment and posttreatment were compared by using paired t tests. Subjects continued to be followed to judge persistence of response.

Results: All subjects showed clear improvement at 5 weeks and maintained it during follow-up while taking medication. Rapid relapse and recovery occurred in 5 of 6 patients who discontinued and then resumed medication.

Conclusion: Divalproex sodium may be helpful in teenagers who have explosive tempers and severe mood swings, and benefits may generalize to school and family life.