Objective: To determine if oxcarbazepine is effective as treatment for refractory bipolar illness in a naturalistic setting.
Methods: All charts of out-patients treated with oxcarbazepine (n=13) were reviewed and clinical response assessed retrospectively using the Clinical Global Impression of Improvement (CGI-I) rating scale. All patients had failed treatment with at least one previous mood stabilizer.
Results: Mild improvement was seen in 46% (n=6) and moderate improvement in 16% (n=2). Fifty-four percent (n=7) of the total sample discontinued treatment because of adverse effects.
Conclusion: Oxcarbazepine may possess mild to moderate mood-stabilizing properties in this refractory, mostly depressed, bipolar sample. This naturalistic study is limited by its uncontrolled nature.