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CNS Neurosci Ther. 2010 Apr;16(2):91-102. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-5949.2009.00121.x.

A prospective open-label trial of lamotrigine monotherapy in children and adolescents with bipolar disorder.

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  • 1Clinical and Research Program in Pediatric Psychopharmacology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.



To evaluate the safety and efficacy of lamotrigine monotherapy as an acute treatment of bipolar mood elevation in children with bipolar spectrum disorders.


This was a 12-week, open-label, prospective trial of lamotrigine monotherapy to assess the effectiveness and tolerability of this compound in treating pediatric bipolar disorder. Assessments included the Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS), Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement scale (CGI-I), Children's Depression Rating Scale (CDRS), and Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS). Adverse events were assessed through spontaneous self-reports, vital signs weight monitoring, and laboratory analysis.


Thirty-nine children with bipolar disorder (YMRS at entry: 31.6 +/- 5.5) were enrolled in the study and 22 (56%) completed the 12-week trial. Lamotrigine was slowly titrated to an average endpoint dose of 160.7 +/- 128.3 in subjects <12 years of age (N = 22) and 219.1 +/- 172.2 mg/day in children 12-17 years of age (N = 17). Treatment with lamotrigine was associated with statistically significant levels of improvement in mean YMRS scores (-14.9 +/- 9.7, P < 0.001) at endpoint. Lamotrigine treatment also resulted in significant improvement in the severity of depressive, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and psychotic symptoms. Lamotrigine was generally well tolerated with marginal increase in body weight (47.0 +/- 18.0 kg vs. 47.2 +/- 17.9 kg, P= 0.6) and was not associated with abnormal changes in laboratory parameters. Several participants were discontinued due to skin rash; in all cases, the rash resolved shortly after discontinuation of treatment. No patient developed Steven Johnson syndrome.


Open-label lamotrigine treatment appears to be beneficial in the treatment of bipolar disorder and associated conditions in children. Future placebo-controlled, double-blind studies are warranted to confirm these findings.

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