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Introduction: Managing Bipolar Depression

Charles L. Bowden, MD

Published: June 1, 2004

Article Abstract

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Bipolar disorder can be found in 1.2% to 3.4% of the general population.1 Patients with bipolar disorder attempt suicide at a higher rate than patients with other psychiatric disorders, exhibit substantially more depressive symptoms than manic or hypomanic symptoms,2,3 are at risk for relapse into subsequent bipolar episodes, suffer from subsyndromal symptoms that interfere with functioning and quality of life, and frequently do not respond adequately to standard treatment. Lithium, valproate, and carbamazepine remain the standardof care for the treatment of bipolar disorder, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of lithium for the treatment of both acute episodes of mania and maintenance therapy in bipolar disorder and the use of the anticonvulsant lamotrigine and the atypical antipsychotic olanzapine for maintenance therapy.’ ‹’ ‹

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