Managing bipolar disorder in the elderly: defining the role of the newer agents.

Case University School of Medicine and University Hospitals of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.
Drugs & Aging (Impact Factor: 2.84). 02/2005; 22(1):39-54.
Source: PubMed


Clinical research in geriatric psychopharmacology has been a relatively neglected focus compared with the wealth of information on younger populations, and there is a dearth of published, controlled trials. Similarly, these are limited data in the area of geriatric bipolar disorder. Although there is an absence of rigorous, evidence-based information, preliminary data on older adults with bipolar disorder suggest some promising treatment options and important differences in older versus younger patients with bipolar illness. Lithium, while widely utilised in younger populations, is often poorly tolerated in the elderly. Clinical evidence regarding use of antiepileptic compounds in late-life bipolar disorder is generally compiled from bipolar disorder studies in mixed populations, studies in older adults with seizure disorders, and studies on dementia and psychotic conditions other than bipolar disorder. Valproate semisodium and carbamazepine are widely prescribed compounds in older adults with bipolar disorder. However, the popularity of these compounds has occurred in context of an absence of evidence-based data. The atypical antipsychotics have expanded the treatment armamentarium for bipolar disorder in mixed populations and may offer particular promise in management of bipolar illness in older populations as well. Olanzapine, risperidone, quetiapine, ziprasidone and aripiprazole are atypical antipsychotics that have been approved by the US FDA for the treatment of bipolar disorder; however, there are no published, controlled trials with atypical antipsychotics specific to mania in geriatric patients. Preliminary reports on the use of clozapine, risperidone, olanzapine and quetiapine suggest a role for the use of these agents in late-life bipolar disorder. Information with ziprasidone and aripiprazole specific to geriatric bipolar disorder is still lacking.

6 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Mania in old age is not as rare as it was once thought to be. It may constitute up to 5 per cent of admissions in the psychogeriatric department. The clinical picture, for the most part, seems to correspond with mania in younger patients, although some patients may have atypical presentations. Secondary mania should be excluded first, before a firm diagnosis of primary affective disorder is made. The prognosis and treatment of late onset mania do not seem to differ appreciably from those in younger patients.
    No preview · Article · Apr 1988 · Psychiatric Clinics of North America
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Use of antipsychotic medication is very common in the elderly and often an essential therapy. However, successful treatment in the elderly requires appropriate multidimensional assessment of the patient, knowledge of possible multiple co-morbidities, and awareness of the complexities of polypharmacy, age-dependent changes in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, and drug-drug interactions in this age group. Antipsychotics are known to have a number of adverse effects. New antipsychotics, such as amisulpride, clozapine, olanzapine, risperidone, quetiapine, ziprasidone, zotepine and aripiprazole, may interact with both dopamine and serotonin receptors. However, compared with conventional antipsychotics, they are less likely to cause extrapyramidal symptoms and are better tolerated in the elderly. At the same time, consistent differences between atypical antipsychotics have been demonstrated. Use of clozapine, for example, is limited by the risk of agranulocytosis, whereas this is not a disadvantage of olanzapine, risperidone, quetiapine and, more recently, ziprasidone, which are being widely used with good results in schizophrenia. However, use of the latter agents to treat the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia has been restricted because of recent observations of increased cardiovascular events in patients taking risperidone and olanzapine treatment. Nonetheless, careful review of the literature suggests that the available evidence does not support any causal relationship between use of risperidone or olanzapine and cardiovascular events. This article focuses on some of the main adverse effects commonly reported during administration of atypical antipsychotics to elderly patients. Such effects may be partly explained by age-related changes in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, and partly by the characteristics of the drugs themselves and their different receptor binding profiles.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2006 · Drugs & Aging
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Currently, in individuals over 65 year of age, prevalence rates of bipolar disorder range from 0.1% to 0.4%. As is the case for bipolar disorder in younger individuals, bipolar disorder may be unrecognized or underrecognized among older adults. While anxiety disorders are frequently comorbid among younger individuals with bipolar illness, the prevalence and impact of comorbid anxiety is far less understood among geriatric individuals with bipolar disorder, in whom anxiety disorders may be underreported. This comorbidity may have serious consequences, since in older adult populations with depression, the presence of comorbid anxiety is associated with more severe depressive symptoms, more chronic medical illness, greater functional impairment, and lower quality of life; the same associations may prove to be true in older patients with bipolar disorder. As with younger individuals with bipolar disorder, effective treatment of the underlying mood disorder is critically important before treating comorbid symptoms. Unfortunately, few evidence-based studies are available to guide the treating clinician in the management of these vulnerable patients, many of whom have additional psychiatric or medical comorbidity.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2006 · The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
Show more