The efficacy and use of anticonvulsants in mood disorders

Robert T. Dunn, Mark S. Frye, Tim A. Kimbrell, Kirk D. Denicoff, Gabriele S. Leverich, Robert M. Post

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Carbamazepine and valproate have utility in the acute and prophylactic treatment of mood disorders that appears comparable with that of lithium, but there are emerging differences as well, including responsiveness in some lithium-nonresponsive illness subtypes. Carbamazepine and valproate are generally well tolerated, but each has its own adverse effect profile and proclivity for pharmacokinetic interactions. The high potency (anticonvulsant) benzodiazepines have utility in mood disorders as adjuncts to mood stabilizers and often can obviate the need for neuroleptics. Several small studies suggest that the dihydropyridine L-type calcium channel blockers can be useful mood stabilizers, and several new antiepileptic agents, especially lamotrigine and gabapentin, may have mood-stabilizing properties. The actions of electroconvulsive therapy as they relate to activation of endogenous anticonvulsant processes, and the potential therapeutic effects of nonconvulsive repeated transcranial magnetic stimulation of brain, are promising areas of mood disorder research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-235
Number of pages21
JournalClinical Neuropharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1998


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Mood disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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