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Oxcarbazepine Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

J Clin Psychiatry 2003;64:943-945

Objective: To assess the effectiveness and safety of oxcarbazepine in bipolar disorder.

Method: A chart review of naturalistic treatment with oxcarbazepine in 42 outpatients with DSM-IV bipolar disorder (10 males, 32 females; mean ± SD age = 33.3 ± 12.4 years; 25 with bipolar disorder type I, 4 with bipolar disorder type II, and 13 with bipolar disorder not otherwise specified) was conducted. Patients had received oxcarbazepine monotherapy or adjunctive therapy between April 2000 and April 2002. Treatment response was defined as a Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement scale score of 1 (marked improvement) or 2 (moderate improvement).

Results: Oxcarbazepine was moderately to markedly effective in 24 subjects (57%). Mixed symptoms were the most common indication (52% [22/42]). The mean oxcarbazepine dose was 1056.6 mg/day, and mean treatment duration was 16.2 weeks. Sedation (17/42, 40%) was the most common side effect, but 16 patients (38%) had no side effects. Twenty-two patients (52%) stopped treatment, mostly due to side effects (12/22). Males were more likely to respond than females (10/10 vs. 14/32, p = .006). Dose, bipolar subtype, indication, past nonresponse to mood stabilizers, concurrent mood stabilizer use, and monotherapy use of oxcarbazepine did not differentially predict response.

Conclusion: Oxcarbazepine appeared effective in about one half of patients with bipolar disorder and was well tolerated.