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A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Efficacy and Safety Study of Quetiapine or Lithium as Monotherapy for Mania in Bipolar Disorder

J Clin Psychiatry 2005;66(1):111-121

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of quetiapine monotherapy versus placebo for the treatment of mania associated with bipolar disorder.

Method: In an international, multicenter, double-blind, parallel-group, 12-week study, patients with a DSM-IV diagnosis of bipolar I disorder (manic episode) were randomly assigned to treatment with quetiapine (flexibly dosed up to 800 mg/day), placebo, or lithium. The primary efficacy measure was change from baseline in Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) score at day 21. Data were gathered from April 2001 to May 2002.

Results: More patients in the quetiapine (72/107) and lithium (67/98) groups completed the study compared with the placebo group (35/97). Improvement (reduction) in YMRS score was significantly greater for quetiapine than placebo at day 7 (-8.03 vs. -4.89; p < .01), and the difference between groups continued to increase over time to day 21 (-14.6 vs. -6.7; p < .001) and to endpoint at day 84 (-20.3 vs. -9.0; p < .001). Significantly more quetiapine patients compared with placebo patients fulfilled YMRS response criteria at day 21 (53.3% vs. 27.4%; p < .001) and at day 84 (72.0% vs. 41.1%; p < .001). Quetiapine was also superior to placebo in efficacy at day 21 and day 84 by all secondary measures. Lithium-treated patients improved significantly compared with placebo patients and similarly to quetiapine-treated patients on the primary efficacy measure. The most common adverse events for quetiapine were dry mouth, somnolence, and weight gain, while lithium was associated with tremor and insomnia. The quetiapine and placebo groups had similar, low levels of extrapyramidal symptom-related adverse events.

Conclusions: Quetiapine demonstrated superior efficacy to placebo in patients with bipolar mania and was well tolerated.