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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Mexiletine in treatment-resistant bipolar disorder.

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of mexiletine, a medication with antiarrhythmic, anticonvulsant and analgesic properties, in treatment-resistant bipolar disorder patients. METHODS: Twenty subjects with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder who had failed to respond or were intolerant to lithium, valproic acid and carbamazepine were entered into the 6-week, open label study. Subjects were followed on a weekly basis for dosing of mexiletine, blood levels, and completion of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) and the Manic State Rating Scale (MSRS). "Burden of Mood Symptoms" (BMS) was calculated by combining scores for the HAM-D and MSRS. RESULTS: Thirteen subjects (10 female, 3 male), mean age 41 years (S.D.=7.6), and mean duration of illness 20 years (S.D.=7.7) completed the study. The dose range of mexiletine was 200-1200 mg/day. Full response (>/=50% reduction in BMS) was seen in 46% of the subjects, and a partial response (25-49% reduction in BMS) in 15%. Of note, 5/5 subjects with a mixed or manic state demonstrated a full or partial response. LIMITATIONS: This study has an open label design, and a small number of subjects. CONCLUSIONS: Mexiletine may be effective and safe in patients with highly treatment-resistant, chronic bipolar disorder. Randomized, controlled trials are required to confirm the current results.[1]


  1. Mexiletine in treatment-resistant bipolar disorder. Schaffer, A., Levitt, A.J., Joffe, R.T. Journal of affective disorders. (2000) [Pubmed]
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