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Am J Psychiatry. 2000 May;157(5):818-20.

Divalproex treatment for youth with explosive temper and mood lability: a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover design.

Author information

  • 1Department of Therapeutics, Division of Epidemiology of Brain Disorders, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY 10032, USA.

Erratum in

  • 2000 Jul;157(7):1192.
  • Am J Psychiatry 2000 Jun;157(6):1038.



The authors sought to replicate open-label findings showing that specific criteria for explosive temper and mood lability identify disruptive youth who improve while receiving the anticonvulsant divalproex sodium.


Twenty outpatient children and adolescents (ages 10-18) with a disruptive behavior disorder (oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder) met the specific criteria for explosive temper and mood lability. They received 6 weeks of divalproex treatment and 6 weeks of placebo by random assignment. Independent evaluators blind to group assignment assessed response at the end of each phase.


At the end of phase 1, eight of 10 subjects had responded to divalproex; zero of 10 had responded to placebo. Of the 15 subjects who completed both phases, 12 has superior response taking divalproex.


This preliminary study replicates open-label findings showing that divalproex is an efficacious treatment for explosive temper and mood lability in disruptive children and adolescents.

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