Lithium and Valproate Treatment of Pathological Gambling: A Randomized Single-Blind Study
J Clin Psychiatry 2002;63(7):559-564
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Objective: The aim of the present study was
to evaluate the efficacy and safety of lithium and valproate in nonbipolar pathological gamblers.
Method: Forty-two subjects with
DSM-IV-defined pathological gambling entered a
14-week single-blind trial with lithium (N = 23) or
valproate (N = 19). A total of 15 subjects on
lithium treatment and 16 patients on valproate
treatment completed the 14-week protocol.
Results: At the end of the 14-week
treatment period, both the lithium and the valproate
groups showed significant (p < .01) improvement
in mean score on the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale modified for pathological
gambling. This improvement did not significantly differ
between groups. Fourteen (60.9%) of the 23
patients taking lithium and 13 (68.4%) of the 19
patients taking valproate were responders based on
a Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement score of much or very much improved.
Conclusion: Findings from the present
study suggest the efficacy of both lithium carbonate
and valproate in the treatment of pathological gambling. This is the first controlled trial of the
efficacy of mood stabilizers in pathological gambling. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial
is required to confirm these findings.