Evidence continues to mount that anticonvulsants represent broad-spectrum central nervous system agents which are highly efficacious in the treatment of core psychiatric symptoms. The US Food and Drug Administration has extended the use of anticonvulsants beyond the treatment of epilepsy, to include wide-reaching neuropsychiatric illnesses such as mania, migraine, panic disorder, and trigeminal neurologia. From the perspective of psychiatric disorders, the most exciting development about these newer agents is the emergence of persuasive evidence that they are effective in treating mood disorders. Depakote and Tegretol have been joined by Neurontin and Lamictal as agents shown to be useful in the treatment of bipolar, and possibly unipolar, depression.
Recently, both clinical and research attention has focused specifically on the use of Neurontin and Lamictal as alternatives to standard, agents for the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders. Because many patients with bipolar disorder experience continued symptomology despite standard treatment, further study of these novel agents for the treatment of affective disorders is warranted.