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Lithium in hospitalized aggressive children with conduct disorder: a double-blind and placebo-controlled study.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, New York University Medical Center, New York, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1995 May;34(5):694.



To assess critically the efficacy and safety of lithium and replicate earlier findings in a larger sample of aggressive children with conduct disorder and to assess the utility of the Profile of Mood States (POMS) in this population.


Children hospitalized for treatment-refractory severe aggressiveness and explosiveness and with diagnosed conduct disorder were subjects in this double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. After a 2-week placebo baseline period, children were randomly assigned to lithium or placebo treatment for 6 weeks of placebo. The main outcome measures were the Global Clinical Judgments (Consensus) Scale, Children's Psychiatric Rating Scale, Conners Teacher Questionnaire, Parent-Teacher Questionnaire, and the POMS.


Fifty children (mean age 9.4 years) completed this study. The mean optimal daily dose of lithium was 1,248 mg and the mean serum level was 1.12 mEq/L. Lithium was superior to placebo, although the effects on some measures were more modest than in a previous study.


Lithium appears to be an effective treatment for some severely aggressive children with conduct disorder. Although the POMS appeared to be reliable, it did not detect any response to lithium.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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