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Role of atypical antipsychotics in rapid cycling bipolar disorder: A review of the literature

Melanie L. Zupancic, MD

Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Medicine/Psychiatry, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, IL, USA

BACKGROUND: The role of atypical antipsychotics in the management of bipolar disorder continues to expand. This review summarizes the literature on use of atypicals in rapid cycling bipolar disorder in clinical practice and highlights areas for future study.

METHODS: A PubMed search was done using keywords rapid cycling, atypical antipsychotics, refractory bipolar, aripiprazole, clozapine, olanzapine, risperidone, quetiapine, and ziprasidone. Reference lists from original peer-reviewed articles, review articles, and book chapters were reviewed and articles were extracted.

RESULTS: Data on the use of atypical antipsychotics in rapid cycling bipolar disorder are sparse. Atypical antipsychotics may be effective as anti-manic agents during acute mania and may reduce depressive symptoms when used for short and intermediate durations. Their efficacy as mood stabilizers in maintenance therapy has not been demonstrated.

CONCLUSIONS: The study of atypical antipsychotics in rapid cycling bipolar disorder is in its infancy. Although atypical antipsychotics are useful in acute mania, current data do not support their use as maintenance agents. Future double-blind, randomized studies are needed to establish their efficacy relative to traditional mood stabilizers and their utility as adjuvant agents in this subset of patients.

KEYWORDS: rapid cycling, atypical antipsychotics, refractory bipolar disorder

ANNALS OF CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY 2011;23(2):141-149

CORRESPONDENCE: Melanie L. Zupancic, MD Department of Internal Medicine Division of Medicine/Psychiatry Southern Illinois University School of Medicine 901 W. Jefferson Street Springfield, IL 62794 USA E-MAIL: mzupancic@siumed.edu
Annals of Clinical Psychiatry ©2011 Quadrant HealthCom Inc.

 
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