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Acute and Maintenance Treatments for Bipolar Depression

J Clin Psychiatry 2014;75(4):e10
10.4088/JCP.13010tx2c

Patients with bipolar disorder are symptomatic about half of the time, experiencing depression more often than mania/hypomania. Because patients usually seek treatment during a depressive episode (rather than a manic episode), bipolar depression is commonly misdiagnosed as unipolar depression. Providing an accurate and timely bipolar depression diagnosis is critical for the proper treatment of the patient. Some FDA-approved treatments are helpful during acute and maintenance phases of therapy, but there is a significant unmet need for effective bipolar depression treatments with favorable side-effect profiles. Newer agents offer the promise of improvements in tolerability, but additional research is needed to actualize this promise into better treatments for patients struggling with bipolar depression.

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