ABSTRACT Bipolar disorder affects about 1% of Australians and impacts severely on relationships, careers and general functional capacity. General practitioners are central in the management of patients with bipolar disorder.
To update clinicians on the recognition, diagnosis and management of bipolar disorder in light of recent research.
There is growing concern about the over-diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and increasing evidence that bipolar depression may present differently to unipolar depression. Antipsychotics are the initial agents of choice for the acute treatment of mania. For preventive treatment, lithium and atypical antipsychotics have the strongest evidence base. Lithium has been shown to be more effective than valproate. The main effect of lithium and most of the atypical antipsychotics is on prevention of manic relapse; only olanzapine and quetiapine also protect against depression. Lamotrigine is an agent with evidence for prevention of depressive relapse, but have minimal activity against mania. The role of antidepressants remains contentious, while there is strong support for quetiapine. Finally, there is growing evidence from randomised controlled trials of the benefit of psychological therapies in conjunction with medications.
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ABSTRACT: A radical drug treatment for bipolar affective disorder (BD) is currently unavailable. This is attributed to the fact that the precise pathophysiology of this ailment is unclear though a genetic factor is an essential element in etiology. Dissimilar to other serious psychiatric categories such as psychoses and major depression the forecast of this disease is unpredictable. There is a high suicidal risk among BD affected individuals. In this review we will consider lithium, the drug of choice in treatment of this disorder with special emphasis on pharmacology and toxicity. We have also elucidated the alternatives to lithium, since it has a wide spectrum of side-effects. Lithium is known to interact with many types of drugs used to treat different ailments in humans. This could cause either augmentation or minimization of the therapeutic action, causing secondary undesired effects of the agent. This necessitates a search for other alternatives and/or different combinations to lithium in order to decrease the range of unwanted effects for which it has received discredit. These alternatives should be potent mood stabilizers as monotherapy so as to avoid polypharmacy. If not, one should find the best combination of drugs (synergistic agents) such that the lithium dose can be minimized, thereby securing a more potent drug therapy. This study also focuses on the provision of instruction to psychiatric care givers, such as junior doctors in residency, nurses in psychiatric units, psychiatric emergency personnel and, additionally, medical and pharmacy students.European Journal of Pharmacology 06/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.ejphar.2014.06.042 · 2.68 Impact Factor