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Study Finds Antidepressants Don’t Work for Bipolar Disorder

By Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on December 27, 2013

Study Finds Antidepressants Don't Work for Bipolar DisorderSome studies and treatment guidelines suggest that antidepressant treatment for bipolar disorder can trigger or increase mania, while others recommend short-term antidepressant treatment and then early discontinuation.

New Chinese research on the topic included double-blind randomized controlled trials with large sample sizes, supplemented with studies involving homogeneous patients.

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that is characterized by mood swings — significant changes in mood, energy and activity levels that range from deep depression and low levels of energy and motivation, to very high levels of energy and irritability, called mania or hypomania. It can be difficult to diagnose and is sometimes misdiagnosed as clinical depression, because a person may present with only those symptoms when talking to their doctor or therapist.

Investigators set strict inclusion criteria by analyzing only double-blind randomized controlled studies and studies where antipsychotic medications were not used in treatment. The researchers believe that by focusing on such high-quality evidence and removing studies where other medications were used (which may confound the results), it results in a more objective analysis.

The results from this study do not support the contention that antidepressants are effective in the treatment of bipolar disorder.

Antidepressants were not superior to placebo and other medications in the short term, and long-term use of antidepressants did not achieve higher response and remission rates of bipolar disorder.

The findings are published in the journal Neural Regeneration Research.

Experts belief the findings will help guide future clinical studies and provide evidence for preparing treatment strategy for bipolar disorder.

Source: Neural Regeneration Research

 

APA Reference
Nauert, R. (2013). Study Finds Antidepressants Don’t Work for Bipolar Disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/12/27/study-finds-antidepressants-dont-work-for-bipolar-disorder/63795.html