Psychotropic Drugs and Adverse Events in the Treatment of Bipolar Disorders Revisited




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Psychopharmacology research aims to expand the therapeutic ratio between efficacy, on the one hand, and adverse events and safety, on the other. The novel antipsychotics are now the antipsychotics of choice in the treatment of bipolar disorders. They have the advantages of potential antidepressant properties and low risks of extrapyramidal side effects and, especially, of tardive dyskinesia. However, novel antipsychotics may also have varying propensities to cause side effects, such as somnolence, hyperprolactinemia, weight gain (sometimes significant), and possibly diabetes mellitus. The increasing use of these novel agents requires careful assessment and monitoring of emergent side effects and diligent consideration of associated medical complications. Two new anticonvulsants, lamotrigine and topiramate, have recently shown promise in the treatment of bipolar disorders. Most of their adverse effects can be avoided by slow titration toward the recommended doses. In contrast to carbamazepine and valproic acid, topiramate may be associated with weight loss.

J Clin Psychiatry 2002;63(suppl 3):15-20