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Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2002 Dec;14(4):223-32.

Combining lithium and anticonvulsants in bipolar disorder: a review.

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Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


While the benefits of lithium in bipolar disorder are evident, its limitations as monotherapy are well recognized, particularly in bipolar depression. This has propelled trials of combined lithium-anticonvulsant therapy in many bipolar patients. The present review of the English-language literature examines both controlled and open studies of such combination therapy, including the risk of drug-drug interactions. Trials of lithium plus either carbamazepine or divalproex have generally produced favorable results, although increased rates of adverse effects may reduce treatment adherence. More recent reports suggest that lithium may be safely and effectively combined with lamotrigine, and perhaps with topiramate, although controlled studies are required. The combined use of lithium with newer, putative mood stabilizers, such as zonisamide or levetiracetam, cannot yet be recommended, but is an important area for future research. Provisional recommendations for combined treatment are provided.

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