A systematic review of the evidence on the treatment of rapid cycling bipolar disorder

Third Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki First Psychiatric Department, Psychiatric Hospital of Attica, Athens, Greece Department of Pharmacodynamics, Faculty of Medicine, and Department of Clinical and Theoretical Mental Health, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
Bipolar Disorders (Impact Factor: 4.89). 03/2013; 15(2):115-37. DOI: 10.1111/bdi.12045
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Objective: Rapid cycling is associated with longer illness duration and greater illness severity in bipolar disorder. The aim of the present study was to review the existing published randomized trials investigating the effect of treatment on patients with rapid cycling bipolar disorder. Methods: A MEDLINE search was conducted using combinations of the following key words: bipolar and rapid or rapid-cycling or rapid cycling and randomized. The search was conducted through July 16, 2011, and no conference proceedings were included. Results: The search returned 206 papers and ultimately 25 papers were selected for review. Only six randomized, controlled trials specifically designed to study a rapid cycling population were found. Most data were derived from post hoc analyses of trials that had included rapid cyclers. The literature suggested that: (i) rapid cycling patients perform worse in the follow-up period; (ii) lithium and anticonvulsants have comparable efficacies; (iii) there is inconclusive evidence on the comparative acute or prophylactic efficacy of the combination of anticonvulsants versus anticonvulsant monotherapy; (iv) aripiprazole, olanzapine, and quetiapine are effective against acute bipolar episodes; (v) olanzapine and quetiapine appear to be equally effective to anticonvulsants during acute treatment; (vi) aripiprazole and olanzapine appear promising for the maintenance of response of rapid cyclers; and (vii) there might be an association between antidepressant use and the presence of rapid cycling. Conclusion: The literature examining the pharmacological treatment of rapid cycling is still sparse and therefore there is no clear consensus with respect to its optimal pharmacological management. Clinical trials specifically studying rapid cycling are needed in order to unravel the appropriate management of rapid cycling bipolar disorder. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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    • "The use of medication may affect the presentation of BD, and thus, it is important to ask how the use of medication may have affected the variables examined in this study. Rapid cycling has been linked to antidepressant use in some studies (Fountoulakis et al. 2013); however, in this sample of euthymic BD subjects, antidepressants were used by a quarter of the participants (n = 31) at baseline, and the use was not correlated to the PSQI score (r = .03, p = .76), "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Poor sleep quality is known to precede the onset of mood episodes and to be associated with poor treatment outcomes in bipolar disorder (BD). We sought to identify modifiable factors that correlate with poor sleep quality in BD independent of residual mood symptoms. Methods A retrospective analysis was conducted to assess the association between the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and clinical variables of interest in euthymic patients with DSM-IV BD (n = 119) and healthy controls (HC; n = 136) participating in the Prechter Longitudinal Study of Bipolar Disorder. Multivariable linear regression models were constructed to investigate the relationship between sleep quality and demographic and clinical variables in BD and HC participants. A unified model determined independent predictors of sleep quality. Results and discussion Euthymic participants with BD and HC differed in all domains. The best fitting unified multivariable model of poor sleep quality in euthymic participants with BD included rapid cycling (β = .20, p = .03), neuroticism (β = .28, p = 2 × 10−3), and stressful life events (β = .20, p = .02). Poor sleep quality often persists during euthymia and can be a target for treatment. Clinicians should remain vigilant for treating subjective sleep complaints independent of residual mood symptoms in those sensitive to poor sleep quality, including individuals with high neuroticism, rapid cycling, and recent stressful life events. Modifiable factors associated with sleep quality should be targeted directly with psychosocial or somatic treatment. Sleep quality may be a useful outcome measure in BD treatment studies.
    09/2013; 1:16. DOI:10.1186/2194-7511-1-16
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    ABSTRACT: Treatment of bipolar depression with antidepressants is strongly debated on the basis of the methodologically poor and insufficient data supporting their use and the widely held belief that antidepressants can induce new episodes of abnormal mood elevation or accelerate the rate of cycling. The present study aimed at identifying clinical risk factors for switch into hypomania, mania, or mixed states, within 8 weeks after introduction of an antidepressant or after increasing its dosage, in a prospective, longitudinal design. 221 consecutive DSM-IV-TR depressed bipolar I and II disorder patients were treated with antidepressants, which were added to previously prescribed mood stabilizers and/or atypical antipsychotics. No patient was on antidepressant monotherapy. The patients were enrolled from October 2005 through January 2010. The primary outcome was the assessment of switch to mania or hypomania within 8 weeks after the introduction or dose increase of an antidepressant. Both groups were compared with analysis of variance and χ² procedures. Treatment-emergent affective switch was detected in 54 patients (24.4%) (switch group) while 167 patients (75.6%) (nonswitch group) did not experience a treatment-related switch. The main clinical differences significantly associated with the occurrence of an antidepressant-related switch, after performing logistic regression analysis, were higher rate of previous switches (P < .001) in the switch versus the nonswitch group, lower rate of responses to antidepressants (P < .001) in the switch versus the nonswitch group, and earlier age at onset (P = .026) in the switch versus the nonswitch group. Bipolar patients with an earlier age at onset and an illness course characterized by lower rate of response to antidepressants and higher rate of switches into mania or hypomania were found to be the ones with higher switch risk. Nevertheless, a greater number of previous antidepressant exposures was not associated with the occurrence of an antidepressant-associated switch. Identifier: NCT01503489.
    The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 02/2012; 73(2):e271-6. DOI:10.4088/JCP.11m07166 · 5.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Migraine is a common comorbidity of bipolar disorder and is more prevalent in women than men. We hypothesized comorbid migraine would be associated with features of illness and psychosocial risk factors that would differ by gender and impact outcome. A retrospective analysis was conducted to assess association between self-reported, physician-diagnosed migraine, clinical variables of interest, and mood outcome in subjects with DSM-IV bipolar disorder (N = 412) and healthy controls (N = 157) from the Prechter Longitudinal Study of Bipolar Disorder, 2005-2010. Informed consent was obtained from all participants. Migraine was more common in subjects with bipolar disorder (31%) than in healthy controls (6%) and had elevated risk in bipolar disorder women compared to men (OR = 3.5; 95% CI, 2.1-5.8). In men, migraine was associated with bipolar II disorder (OR = 9.9; 95% CI, 2.3-41.9) and mixed symptoms (OR = 3.5; 95% CI, 1.0-11.9). In comparison to absence of migraine, presence of migraine was associated with an earlier age at onset of bipolar disorder by 2 years, more severe depression (β = .13, P = .03), and more frequent depression longitudinally (β = .13, P = .03). Migraine was correlated with childhood emotional abuse (P = .01), sexual abuse (P = 4 × 10-3), emotional neglect (P = .01), and high neuroticism (P = 2 × 10-3). Protective factors included high extraversion (P = .02) and high family adaptability at the trend level (P = .08). Migraine is a common comorbidity with bipolar disorder and may impact long-term outcome of bipolar disorder, particularly depression. Clinicians should be alert for migraine comorbidity in women and in men with bipolar II disorder. Effective treatment of migraine may impact mood outcome in bipolar disorder as well as headache outcome. Joint pathophysiologic mechanisms between migraine and bipolar disorder may be important pathways for future study of treatments for both disorders.
    The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 04/2014; 75(5). DOI:10.4088/JCP.13m08623 · 5.14 Impact Factor
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