A comparison of anticonvulsants in the treatment of impulsive aggression

Matthew S. Stanford, Laura E. Helfritz, Sarah M. Conklin, Nicole R. Villemarette-Pittman, Kevin W. Greve, Donald Adams, Rebecca J. Houston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


This study compared the behavioral effects of 3 anticonvulsants in impulsive aggressive men. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel groups design, participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 6-week treatments: phenytoin (n = 7), carbamazepine (n = 7), valproate (n = 7), or placebo (n = 8). The efficacy measure was the average aggression score, a global severity index from the Overt Aggression Scale (J. M. Silver & S. C. Yudofsky, 1991). Analysis showed a significant reduction in impulsive aggression during all 3 anticonvulsant conditions compared with placebo. However, the treatment effect during carbamazepine administration was slightly delayed compared with phenytoin and valproate. These findings suggest that increased use of anticonvulsants could make a significant impact in the control of impulsive aggression in both mental health and criminal justice settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-77
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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