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Antipsychotic Drug Treatment in First-Episode Mania: A 6-Month Longitudinal Study

J Clin Psychiatry 2000;61:33-38

Objective: To determine the use of antipsychotics during and following inpatient treatment of patients with a first-episode of mania.

Method: The 198 subjects available for analysis were 129 consecutively hospitalized first-episode manic patients and 69 nonaffective psychotic patients assessed at admission and at 6-month follow-up postdischarge. Comparisons between the groups were made on frequency, type, and doses of antipsychotics prescribed during and after hospitalization in relation to clinical status.

Results: First-episode manic patients were given lower mean ± SD daily doses of antipsychotics than nonaffective psychotic patients at discharge (163 ± 132 mg chlorpromazine equivalents [CPZe] vs. 224 ± 167 mg CPZe, p = .0102), at 6-month follow-up (109 ± 167 mg CPZe vs. 260 ± 178 mg CPZe; p = .0001), and if recovered (110 ± 174 mg CPZe vs. 265 ± 207 mg CPZe, p = .0014). At 6-month follow-up, 31 (24%) of 129 manic and 24 (35%) of 69 nonaffective psychotic patients continued to receive antipsychotics (NS). There was no difference between the groups in the time to discontinuation of antipsychotic agents. The mean time to drug discontinuation in manic patients was 98 days.

Conclusion: (1) Antipsychotic doses at discharge and at 6-month follow-up were much lower in manic than in nonaffective psychotic patients, although there was no significant difference in the proportion of patients who continued to receive them 6 months after discharge. (2) The time to discontinuation was independent of clinical outcome. In those who discontinued the antipsychotic agent, the time to discontinuation was more rapid in the manic group than in the nonaffective psychotic patients.