Discovery and development of lamotrigine for bipolar disorder: a story of serendipity, clinical observations, risk taking, and persistence.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review)

This paper briefly reviews and comments on the development of lamotrigine as a treatment for bipolar disorder. The events described include astute clinical observations by epileptologists, serendipitous coupling of the drug's clinical profile to unmet need of two refractory bipolar patients by a practicing psychiatrist, risk taking on the part of an industry sponsor, and persistence on the part of a few key internal and external advocates to see development through to its conclusion, taking place against a backdrop of a disease area which, at the time of the earliest events described here, had not seen the development of any new pharmacologic treatments for decades. Fortunately for patients, since that time there has been a veritable explosion of research into treatments for bipolar disorder, both old and new, so that now patients and physicians have multiple evidence-based options for the treatment of this devastating illness. The development of lamotrigine provides one example of the importance of prescience, patience and persistence in bringing a novel idea to clinical fruition.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Weisler, RH; Calabrese, JR; Bowden, CL; Ascher, JA; DeVeaugh-Geiss, J; Evoniuk, G

Published Date

  • May 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 108 / 1-2

Start / End Page

  • 1 - 9

PubMed ID

  • 18001843

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0165-0327

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jad.2007.09.012


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Netherlands