Clinical Neuroscience

[Antiepileptic drugs as mood stabilizers: what did we learn from the epileptology?]

RAJNA Péter

SEPTEMBER 30, 2008

Clinical Neuroscience - 2008;61(09-10)

[Author summarizes the practical aspects of psychiatric application of mood stabilizing antiepileptic drugs. He observes how to transfer experiences taken from the “epileptological” practice into the psychiatric care of bipolar patients. He shortly demonstrates the relevant information on the mechanisms of action, controversies and possible clinical effects influenced by the seizure inhibiting effect of the concerning molecules. By the opinion of the author the clinical importance of pharmacokinetic parameters are underestimated in the psychiatric practice. Therefore - as an original approach in the literature - he summarizes the detailed clinical indications of serum level measurements of antiepileptic drugs applied in psychiatry as mood stabilizers. The therapeutic experiences in epilepsy added a lot of practices for the most effective dosing, building, tapering and exchange of the mood stabilizer antiepileptics. Drug interactions (appear among the psychotropic drugs or with the commonly used medicines). As in any chronic therapies the main condition of patient's compliance is the lacking or very mild presence of the applied therapy. The paper discusses the most frequently occurring and drug-specific side effects in table forms. Using the term of “relative therapeutic potential” the need of balance between the efficacy (influenced by the choice and dosing) and the tolerance are pointed. Rules of application can change significantly in special populations like in pregnancy, obesity, chronic diseases or in chronic comorbide states and in case of polytherapy. As for the special therapeutic effects, the experiences are not completed even in group of antiepileptics: we have larger and more favorable knowledge on the traditional drugs (carbamazepine and valproates) and on lamotrigine (from the newer generation) but promising but not enough information exists on the newest antiepileptic molecules. Further targeted studies are needed for the identification and positioning of antiepileptic drugs in the palette of mood stabilizing pharmacotherapy and for the definition of evidence based, individually tailored and lifelong applied highly effective combinations of the mood stabilizing pharmacotherapy containing antiepileptic agents.]

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