Somatic treatment of bipolar disorder in children and adolescents.

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 34th and Civic Center Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
Psychiatric Clinics of North America (Impact Factor: 2.13). 04/2004; 27(1):155-78, x-xi. DOI: 10.1016/S0193-953X(03)00116-3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The currently available data from randomized, controlled trials and a considerable amount of open clinical data suggest that adolescent-onset bipolar disorder probably responds to the same agents as adult-onset bipolar disorder. Research examining psychopharmacologic treatment approaches in the early-onset bipolar disorder is limited, however. Methodologic problems include small sample sizes, lack of comparison groups, retrospective designs,and lack of standardized measures. In addition, sometimes no clear differentiation is made between mania and bipolar disorder, the latter term being used broadly in the literature. Often the studies show that symptoms improve because of treatment, but the functioning of the patients does not improve significantly. More research is clearly needed in all aspects of this disorder but especially in examining the efficacy of various types of treatment, its longitudinal course, and diagnostic issues. The indications for, and the overall duration of, long-term maintenance therapy need further study.Many adolescents and children with bipolar disorder do not respond to any of the first-line pharmacologic treatments; therefore, studies with novel agents should be extended to patients in this age range. Furthermore, physicians will probably continue to use combination therapies when confronted by either lack of efficacy or delayed onset of efficacy with a single agent. Thus, such resultant drug-drug interactions also should also be systematically studied [97].

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