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.

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