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J Nerv Ment Dis. 1975 Feb;160(2-1):119-26.

Anticonvulsants in the treatment of aggression.


A significant number of violent acts are committed by individuals in whom central nervous system instability can be demonstrated by special electroencephalographic (EEG) activation procedures utilizing alpha-chloralose as the activating agent. Furthermore, subcortical electrograms suggest that this instability is related to a circumscribed ictal phenomenon in the limbic system. The abruptness of the aggressive act, the fact that the behavior is so often out of character for the individual and inappropriate for the situation, as well as the confusion and partial amnesia which accompany these episodes lend clinical support for the ictal hypothesis. Some anticonvulsants not only block the activated abnormalities on the EEG but also lead to dramatic clinical improvement in those individuals showing repeated and frequent aggressive behavior. For instance, in one study 46.7 percent and 53.3 per cent of the patients demonstrated activated abnormalities on no drug and placebo, respectively. When these same patients were receiving chlorpormazine or trifluoperazine, the activation rates were 60.0 per cent and 73.3 per cent, respectively. On the other hand, when these same patients were placed on a regimen of chlordiazepoxide the activation rate was reduced to 20 per cent (p smaller than or equal to .01). Another study involved severely distrubed chronically hospitalized psychotic patients whose aggressive uncontrolled outbursts relegated then not only to a locked ward, but often to isolation rooms despite high doses of phenothiazines. A regimen of chlordiazepoxide and

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