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Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2007 Oct 8;6:25.

Oxcarbazepine as monotherapy of acute mania in insufficiently controlled type-1 diabetes mellitus: a case-report.

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  • 1University of Athens, Medical School, Department of Psychiatry, Eginition Hospital, Athens, Greece.



Type-1 diabetes mellitus (DM) is a lifelong serious condition which often renders the application of standard treatment options for patients' comorbid conditions, such as bipolar disorder I, risky - especially for acute manic episodes. We present such a case whereby the application of standard anti-manic treatments would have jeopardized a patient whose physical condition was already compromised by DM.


We report the case of a 55-year-old female with a history of type-1 DM since the age of 11, and severe ocular and renal vascular complications thereof. While on the waiting list for pancreatic islet cell transplantation, she developed a manic episode that proved recalcitrant to a treatment with gabapentin, lorazepam and quetiapine. Moreover, her mental state affected adversely her already compromised glycemic control, requiring her psychiatric hospitalization. Her psychotropic medication was almost discontinued and replaced by oxcarbazepine (OXC) up to 1800 mg/day for 10 days.


The patient's mental state improved steadily and on discharge, 3 weeks later, she showed an impressive improvement rate of over 70% on the YMRS. Moreover, she remains normothymic 6 months after discharge, with OXC at 1200 mg/day.


Standard prescribing guidelines for acute mania recommend a combination of an antipsychotic with lithium or, alternatively, a combination of an antipsychotic with valproate or carbamazepine. However, in our case, administration of lithium was at least relatively contra-indicated because of patient's already compromised renal function. Furthermore, antipsychotics increase glucose levels and thus were also relatively contra-indicated. Moreover, the imminent post-transplantation immunosuppressant treatment with immuno-modulating medicines also contra-indicated both valproate and carbamazepine. Despite the severe methodological limitations of case reports in general, the present one suggests that OXC as monotherapy might be both safe and efficacious in the treatment of acute mania in patients with early-onset type-1 DM, whose already compromised physical condition constitutes an absolute or relative contra-indication for the administration of standard treatments, though there are no, as yet, randomized clinical trials attesting to its efficacy unambiguously.

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