Biochemical and physiological mechanisms of action of carbamazepine in affective illness

  • Robert M Post
  • Thomas W Uhde


Carbamazepine has a unique spectrum of clinical efficacy in the treatment of paroxysmal pain syndromes, major motor and psychomotor seizures (complex partial seizures), and in the mood and behavioral disturbances of affective illness. Carbamazepine is considered the treatment of choice for trigeminal neuralgia (Blom, 1962; Bonduelle, 1975; Killian and Fromm, 1968) and has also been reported to be effective in the lancinating component of other pain syndromes including tabes (Ekbom, 1972; Killian and Fromm, 1968), phantom limb pain (Elliot et al., 1976), post-herpetic neuralgia (Davis, 1969) and glossopharyngeal neuralgia (Yang and Nagaswami, 1978). Its efficacy in the treatment of major motor and psychomotor seizures is well known (Penry and Daly, 1975). It is of particular interest that carbamazepine is increasingly considered the treatment of choice for seizures thought to involve the temporal lobe and limbic system. Consistent with this spectrum of clinical utility, carbamazepine is a potent inhibitor of seizures and afterdischarges generated in the limbic system (Babington, 1977; Wada et al., 1976; Koella et al., 1976; Albright and Burnham, 1980).


Valproic Acid Diabetes Insipidus Trigeminal Neuralgia Complex Partial Seizure Phantom Limb Pain 
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© The contributors 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert M Post
    • 1
  • Thomas W Uhde
  1. 1.Biological Psychiatry BranchNational Institute of Mental HealthBethesdaUSA

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