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Keywords:

  • bipolar disorder;
  • lamotrigine;
  • mood stabilizers;
  • pregnancy;
  • treatment discontinuation;
  • women

Objective:  Clinical management of bipolar disorder (BPD) patients during pregnancy is a major challenge. The high risk of bipolar depression during pregnancy encourages consideration of lamotrigine (LTG). We therefore compared recurrence risks among pregnant women with BPD treated with LTG to those discontinuing mood stabilizer therapies.

Methods:  We compared risks and weeks to new DSM-IV illness-episodes among 26 initially clinically stable pregnant women diagnosed with DSM-IV BPD who continued LTG treatment to those discontinuing all mood stabilizer treatment during pregnancy.

Results:  The risk of new illness-episodes with LTG was 30% versus 100% after discontinuing mood stabilizers, and survival-computed time-to-25%-recurrence was 28.0 versus 2.0 weeks (χ= 17.3, p < 0.0001; hazard ratio = 12.1; 95% confidence interval = 1.6–91.7).

Conclusions:  Discontinuing mood stabilizer treatment presents high risks of illness-recurrence among pregnant women diagnosed with BPD. LTG may afford protective effects in pregnancy, and its reported fetal safety compares favorably to other agents used to manage BPD.