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Long-Term Management Strategies to Achieve Optimal Function in Patients With Bipolar Disorder

Paul E. Keck, M.D.


Predictors of poor functional outcome in patients with bipolar disorder include psychiatric and medical comorbidity, interepisode subsyndromal symptoms, psychosis during manic or mixed episode, and low premorbid functioning. Cognitive dysfunction may also contribute to functional impairment. Psychosocial intervention has shown success in improving syndromal outcomes for people with bipolar disorder. Lithium, lamotrigine, olanzapine, and aripiprazole have all shown substantial improvements in relapse rates compared with placebo. Combination therapy with antipsychotics and antidepressants has also been shown to produce improvement in symptoms in people with bipolar disorder. However, limited evidence is available for the effects of these treatments on cognitive outcomes. This review discusses treatment strategies for the long-term management of bipolar disorder and functional outcome measures associated with these treatments.

(J Clin Psychiatry 2006;67[12]:e17)


From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio.