Lamotrigine May Prevent Depressive Relapse in Bipolar Disorder

April 1, 2004

Research presented at an international meeting in Australia found that lamotrigine may be beneficial against depressive relapse for patients either currently or recently in a manic phase.

Data presented at the International Congress of Biological Psychiatry, held in Sydney, Australia, Feb. 9-13, suggested that lamotrigine (Lamictal) may be effective in helping prevent depression in patients with bipolar disorder (BD) who are currently or have recently been manic. Over a period of 18 months, Lakshmi N. Yatham, MBBS, and colleagues at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver studied 175 patients with current or recent mania to study the effectiveness of lamotrigine compared to placebo and to lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid).

The researchers found that, compared with placebo, lamotrigine treatment resulted in fewer interventions for depression (lamotrigine 14%, lithium 22%, placebo 30%) and fewer adverse depressive events (lamotrigine 0%, lithium 4%, placebo 3%). In addition, fewer patients taking lamotrigine had Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) scores >20 (lamotrigine 3%, lithium 11%, placebo 19%).

Yatham suggested to the press that, based on these findings, lamotrigine should be considered as a treatment during or shortly after an onset of mania, before depressive symptoms re-occur, adding that lamotrigine and lithium could possibly be combined to control both depression and mania--TB