Carbamazepine in Bipolar Disorder With Pain: Reviewing Treatment Guidelines

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Objective: To determine if any monotherapy drug treatment has robust efficacy to treat comorbid bipolar disorder and chronic pain.

Data Sources: The American Psychiatric Association (APA) treatment guidelines for bipolar mood disorder and the 2012 Cochrane database for pain disorders.

Study Selection: We relied on the treatment guides to determine if the drugs that are APA guideline–supported to treat bipolar disorder have supporting data from the Cochrane database for chronic pain.

Data Synthesis: No single drug was mentioned by either guideline to treat this comorbidity. However, carbamazepine was the only drug that has guideline-supported robust efficacy in the management of each condition separately.

Conclusions: Carbamazepine was found to have strong preclinical data for the treatment of comorbid bipolar mood disorder and chronic pain disorders. While requiring more studies in this population, we propose that this treatment modality may benefit patients.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2014;16(5):doi:10.4088/PCC.14r01672