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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2003 Jun;28(6):1186-97. Epub 2003 Apr 2.

Divalproex in the treatment of impulsive aggression: efficacy in cluster B personality disorders.

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Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.


Impulsive aggressive behavior is common in psychiatric disorders and accounts for significant morbidity and mortality. However, little systematic treatment data exist from placebo-controlled trials for this symptom domain. This was a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in which outpatients with a score of > or =15 on the Aggression scale of the Overt Aggression Scale-Modified (OAS-M) and who fulfilled DSM-IV criteria for Cluster B personality disorder (n=96), intermittent explosive disorder (n=116), or post-traumatic stress disorder (n=34) were randomized to divalproex sodium or placebo for 12 weeks duration. Based on average OAS-M Aggression scores over the last 4 weeks of treatment, a treatment effect was not observed in the intent-to-treat data set (combined across the three psychiatric disorders), but was observed in both intent-to-treat and evaluable data sets for patients with Cluster B personality disorders. In the Cluster B evaluable data set, statistically significant treatment differences favoring divalproex were also observed for component items of the OAS-M Aggression score, including verbal assault and assault against objects, as well as OAS-M Irritability score, and Clinical Global Impression (CGI)-Severity at multiple time points throughout the study. No treatment group difference was noted for overall premature discontinuation rate; however, across psychiatric diagnoses, 21 (17%) patients in the divalproex group prematurely discontinued because of an adverse event, as compared to 4 (3%) patients in the placebo group (p <0.001). While a treatment effect was not observed when all diagnostic groups were combined, in a large subgroup of patients with Cluster B disorders, divalproex was superior to placebo in the treatment of impulsive aggression, irritability, and global severity.

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