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Antidepressants Equal to Placebo in Bipolar Depression

(PSYCHIATRIC TIMES) - BOSTON, March 29 -- If a depressed patient with bipolar disorder is taking a mood stabilizer such as lithium, adding an antidepressant has no more effect than a placebo, according to researchers here.

In a study of 366 depressed bipolar patients, durable recoveries were nearly identical, whether patients were randomized to an antidepressant or placebo, found Gary Sachs, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital here, and colleagues.

Also, there were no significant differences in a range of secondary endpoints of the 26-week trial, part of the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD) collaboration, the investigators reported online in the New England Journal of Medicine, scheduled for the April 26 print issue.

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