Why Do Clinicians Maintain Antidepressants in Some Patients With Acute Mania? Hints From the European Mania in Bipolar Longitudinal Evaluation of Medication (EMBLEM), a Large Naturalistic Study

Bipolar Disorders Program, Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, CIBERSAM, Barcelona, Spain.
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 5.81). 03/2010; 71(8):1000-6. DOI: 10.4088/JCP.09m05026gre
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Antidepressants are supposed to be withdrawn during a manic episode. The aim of this study was to analyze the characteristics of manic patients who received antidepressants during a manic phase in a large, naturalistic study.
The European Mania in Bipolar Longitudinal Evaluation of Medication was a 2-year prospective observational study of inpatients and outpatients with acute mania/mixed mania (DSM-IV or ICD-10 criteria) conducted in 14 European countries. Of 2,416 manic patients who continued into the maintenance phase of the study, 345 (14%) were taking an antidepressant and 2,071 (86%) were not taking an antidepressant at baseline, week 1, and/or week 2 postbaseline. Demographic and clinical variables were collected at baseline and each study visit up to 24 months. Outcome measures included the Clinical Global Impressions-Bipolar Disorder scale (CGI-BP overall, mania, and depression scores) at 12 weeks and 24 months, the 5-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS-5), and the Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) at 12 weeks only. The present study was conducted from December 2002 to June 2004.
More antidepressant maintenance use was seen in patients with mixed episodes (P < .001), rapid cyclers (P < .02), patients with more previous depressive episodes (P < .001), and patients with higher mean HDRS-5 score at baseline (P < .001)-specifically patients with anxiety (P = .013). Patients in the antidepressant group had significantly higher CGI-BP depression scores (P < .001) and a significantly higher rate of depression relapse (P < .001) at both 12 weeks and 24 months.
Patients with mania receiving antidepressants are more likely to be outpatients with mixed episodes, anxiety, or rapid cycling and have a higher risk of depression relapse during follow-up.

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