Divalproex treatment for youth with explosive temper and mood lability: A double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover design

Stephen J. Donovan, Jonathan W. Stewart, Edward V. Nunes, Frederic M. Quitkin, Michael Parides, William Daniel, Ezra Susser, Donald F. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

209 Scopus citations


Objective: The authors sought to replicate open-label findings showing that specific criteria for explosive temper and mood lability identify disruptive youth who improve while receiving the anticonvulsant divalproex sodium. Method: Twenty outpatient children and adolescents (ages 10-18) with a disruptive behavior disorder (oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder) met the specific criteria for explosive temper and mood lability. They received 6 weeks of divalproex treatment and 6 weeks of placebo by random assignment. Independent evaluators blind to group assignment assessed response at the end of each phase. Results: At the end of phase 1, eight of 10 subjects had responded to divalproex; zero of 10 had responded to placebo. Of the 15 subjects who completed both phases, 12 has superior response taking divalproex. Conclusions: This preliminary study replicates open-label findings showing that divalproex is an efficacious treatment for explosive temper and mood lability in disruptive children and adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)818-820
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2000
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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