A critical review of the recent literature and selected therapy guidelines since 2006 on the use of lamotrigine in bipolar disorder
Anja Tränkner, Christian Sander, Peter Schönknecht
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
Abstract: The anticonvulsant drug lamotrigine (LTG), a sodium channel blocker and inhibitor of glutamate release, has been found to have antidepressant effects in the treatment of bipolar disorder. It is recommended by certain therapy guidelines as a first-line agent for acute and maintenance therapy in bipolar depression, but there have been only some promising results of placebo-controlled trials on its acute antidepressant effects, and the recommendation in therapy guidelines has been reconsidered. On the contrary, positive results for maintenance therapy could be confirmed, and LTG is still a well-tolerated option, especially in patients with predominant depressive episodes. Antimanic effects are not shown in the literature, and its use is not advised in any guidelines that were examined. In conclusion, the findings of the present review article on treatment guidelines for bipolar disorder question the role of LTG in acute depressive states, and critically discusses its use, particularly in acute depressive states.
Keywords: lamotrigine, bipolar disorder, bipolar depression
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