In Brief: Divalproex is not effective for children with bipolar disorder

In Brief

Divalproex is not effective for children with bipolar disorder

Published: August, 2009

Anticonvulsant drugs are sometimes used to treat adult patients with bipolar disorder — and may offer an effective alternative to lithium treatment. But the first randomized, double-blind, controlled trial in children and adolescents found that the anticonvulsant divalproex (Depakote) performed no better than a placebo in young patients.

In this industry-sponsored study, investigators recruited 150 patients (ages 10 to 17) from several U.S. medical centers, and randomly assigned them to 28 days of treatment with extended-release divalproex or to a placebo. All were diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 1, characterized mainly by manic or mixed (manic and depressive) episodes.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »