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Old Drug Shows Promise for Bipolar Disorder

Research presented today shows the promise of an existing ‘atypical’ antipsychotic medication for the treatment of depressive episodes in bipolar disorder. Known as quetiapine, or by its brand name, Seroquel, the findings were presented at the 19th European College of Neuropsychopharmacology in Paris today.

Bipolar disorder is a seriously debilitating disease for many people which, sadly, sometimes resulting in suicide. Currently there is no monotherapy which treats both the manic and depressive episodes of this condition. Physicians have traditionally treated bipolar disorder with both a mood stabilizer and an antidepressant. Having a single medication to treat both the manic and depressive episodes would be a significant medical advance,” said Dr Joseph R Calabrese, MD, Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

People with bipolar disorder experience swings of mood from periods of feeling overly ‘high’ or euphoric (called ‘mania’ or ‘manic episodes’), to periods of sadness and hopelessness (depression), and then back again, often with periods of normal mood (‘euthymia’) in between. Bipolar disorder typically begins in late adolescence or early adulthood (between the ages of 15 and 24 years) and episodes of mania and depression usually recur throughout the person’s life which has a significant impact on a person’s quality of life.

In addition to the results in bipolar disorder, a study of Seroquel (quetiapine) in patients with schizophrenia was recently published in the September issue of the International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice demonstrating that treatment with Seroquel led to a significant reduction in disease severity and an improvement in patients’ subjective well-being of approximately 40%. Seroquel was well tolerated and more efficacious than previous medication.


Thase M, Macfadden W, McCoy, R, Chang W, Calabrese JR. Quetiapine monotherapy is efficacious for depressive episodes of bipolar I and II disorder: A confirmatory double-blind study (BOLDER II). Poster presented at the European Congress of Neuropsychopharmacology, Paris, 2006.

Lambert M, Reimitz PE, Naber D. Effectiveness, tolerability and subjective well-being in patients receiving quetiapine: findings of a post-marketing surveillance study in schizophrenia. Int J Psych in Clin Prac 2006; 10(3):204-212.

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Old Drug Shows Promise for Bipolar Disorder

Psych Central News Editor

APA Reference
News Editor, P. (2018). Old Drug Shows Promise for Bipolar Disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 19, 2019, from
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Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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