An Analysis of the Efficacy of Treatments for Bipolar Depression

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Individuals with bipolar disorder are euthymic approximately half of the time, but recurring mood episodes are common, and time spent ill is predominated by depressive symptoms. Despite the prevalence of depression in bipolar disorder, evidence suggests that antidepressants are not likely to benefit most patients. Lithium, long considered a first-line treatment for bipolar disorder, is not the most effective agent for preventing bipolar depression. This article reviews multiple pharmacologic options that should be considered by clinicians treating bipolar disorder in both acute and maintenance phases.

J Clin Psychiatry 2008;69(suppl 5):4-8