Bipolar Depression: An Evidence-Based Approach
ABSTRACT Bipolar disorder is a complex, multidimensional illness that is often difficult to treat. Unfortunately, bipolar patients are much more likely to experience depression, which is all too often severe and a potentially lethal phase of the illness. In addition, pharmacotherapies with strong evidence for bipolar depression are limited. Most treatments are based on unsupported extrapolation from the treatment of unipolar depression or are derived largely from the clinical practice experience. In this article, we focus on the treatment of bipolar depression, with particular focus on evidence from the existing literature, to help guide readers in clinical practice.
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ABSTRACT: Many patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder (BD) respond incompletely or unsatisfactorily to available treatments. Given the potentially devastating nature of this prevalent disorder, there is a pressing need to improve clinical care of such patients. We performed a literature review of the research findings related to treatment-resistant BD reported through February 2012. Therapeutic trials for treatment-resistant bipolar mania are uncommon, and provide few promising leads other than the use of clozapine. Far more pressing challenges are the depressive-dysthymic-dysphoric-mixed phases of BD and long-term prophylaxis. Therapeutic trials for treatment-resistant bipolar depression have assessed anticonvulsants, modern antipsychotics, glutamate [N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)] antagonists, dopamine agonists, calcium-channel blockers, and thyroid hormones, as well as behavioral therapy, sleep deprivation, light therapy, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), transcranial magnetic stimulation, and deep brain stimulation-all of which are promising but limited in effectiveness. Several innovative pharmacological treatments (an anticholinesterase, a glutamine antagonist, a calcium-channel blocker, triiodothyronine, olanzapine and topiramate), ECT, and cognitive-behavior therapy have some support for long-term treatment of resistant BD patients, but most of trials of these treatments have been methodologically limited. Most studies identified were small, involved supplementation of typically complex ongoing treatments, varied in controls, randomization, and blinding, usually involved brief follow-up, and lacked replication. Clearer criteria for defining and predicting treatment resistance in BD are needed, as well as improved trial design with better controls, assessment of specific clinical subgroups, and longer follow-up.Bipolar Disorders 09/2012; 14(6):573-84. DOI:10.1111/j.1399-5618.2012.01042.x · 4.89 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: Bipolar disorder (BD) is frequently misdiagnosed as major depressive disorder (MDD), which may lead to inappropriate treatment and poor outcomes. This study aimed to examine prescribing patterns of antidepressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers in BD patients misdiagnosed with MDD in China. METHODS: A total of 1487 patients originally diagnosed with MDD were consecutively screened for diagnostic revision in 13 psychiatric hospitals or psychiatric units of general hospitals in China nationwide. The patients' sociodemographic and clinical characteristics were recorded using a standardized protocol and data collection procedure. The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) was used to establish DSM-IV diagnoses. Data on psychotropic prescriptions were collected by a review of medical records. RESULTS: Three hundred and nine of the 1487 patients (20.8%) fulfilled DSM-IV criteria for BD; 118 (7.9%) for BD-I and 191 (12.8%) for BD-II on the MINI. Of the BD patients (n = 309), 227 (73.5%) received any use of antidepressants, 73 (23.6%) antipsychotics and 33 (10.7%) mood stabilizers. In multiple logistic regression analyses, compared with those with MDD, patients with BD-I were more likely to receive antidepressants (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.1-2.8, p = 0.02), antipsychotics (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.04-2.5, p = 0.04) and mood stabilizers (OR 3.9, 95% CI 2.1-7.2, p < 0.001), whereas patients with BD-II were more likely to receive mood stabilizers (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.3-4.4, p = 0.003). There was no difference in the use of antidepressants (OR 1.1, 95% CI 0.8-1.5, p = 0.7) and antipsychotics (OR 1.3, 95% CI 0.9-1.9, p = 0.2) between BD-II and MDD. In addition, there was no difference between BD-I and BD-II in any use of antidepressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers. CONCLUSIONS: The prescription of antidepressants for BD patients misdiagnosed with MDD is very common, and only a very small proportion of patients received guideline-concordant treatment. Considering the potentially hazardous effects of inappropriate pharmacotherapy in this population, continuing education and training addressing the correct diagnosis of BD and rational use of psychotropic medications are needed in China. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.Human Psychopharmacology Clinical and Experimental 11/2012; 27(6). DOI:10.1002/hup.2262 · 1.85 Impact Factor