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INFLUENTIAL PUBLICATIONS   |    
Treatment of Bipolar Disorder
John R Geddes; David J Miklowitz
FOCUS 2014;12:205-216. doi:10.1176/appi.focus.12.2.205
Abstract

We review recent developments in the acute and long-term treatment of bipolar disorder and identify promising future routes to therapeutic innovation. Overall, advances in drug treatment remain quite modest. Antipsychotic drugs are effective in the acute treatment of mania; their efficacy in the treatment of depression is variable with the clearest evidence for quetiapine. Despite their widespread use, considerable uncertainty and controversy remains about the use of antidepressant drugs in the management of depressive episodes. Lithium has the strongest evidence for long-term relapse prevention; the evidence for anticonvulsants such as divalproex and lamotrigine is less robust and there is much uncertainty about the longer term benefits of antipsychotics. Substantial progress has been made in the development and assessment of adjunctive psychosocial interventions. Long-term maintenance and possibly acute stabilisation of depression can be enhanced by the combination of psychosocial treatments with drugs. The development of future treatments should consider both the neurobiological and psychosocial mechanisms underlying the disorder. We should continue to repurpose treatments and to recognise the role of serendipity. We should also investigate optimum combinations of pharmacological and psychotherapeutic treatments at different stages of the illness. Clarification of the mechanisms by which different treatments affect sleep and circadian rhythms and their relation with daily mood fluctuations is likely to help with the treatment selection for individual patients. To be economically viable, existing psychotherapy protocols need to be made briefer and more efficient for improved scalability and sustainability in widespread implementation.

(Reprinted with permission from the Lancet 2013; 381: 1672–82) 

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Figure 1. Ranking of Antimanic Drugs According to Primary Outcomes Derived from Multiple Treatment Meta-Analysis

Efficacy is shown as a continuous outcome against the dropout rate. Treatments toward the red section combine the worst efficacy and tolerability profiles and treatments towards the green section combine the best profiles. ARI=aripiprazole. ASE=asenapine. CBZ=carbamazepine. VAL=valproate. GBT=gabapentin. HAL=haloperidol. LAM=lamotrigine. LIT=lithium. OLZ=olanzapine. PBO=placebo. QTP=quetiapine. RIS=risperidone. TOP=topiramate. ZIP=ziprasidone. Reproduced from reference 10.

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Table 1.Validation Evidence of Putative Treatment Development Targets in Bipolar Disorder
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Table 2.Randomised Trials of Adjunctive Psychosocial Intervention in Bipolar Disorder
Table Footer Note

FFT=family-focused treatment. CBT=cognitive-behavioural therapy. IPSRT=interpersonal and social rhythm therapy.

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