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APA: Most Bipolar Patients Start on Off-Label Antidepressants

(PSYCHIATRIC TIMES) - MedPage Today Action Points

o Explain to patients who ask that drug therapy for depression associated with bipolar disorder may include mood stabilizers and/or antimanic agents.

o This study was published as an abstract and presented orally at a conference. These data and conclusions should be considered to be preliminary as they have not yet been reviewed and published in a peer-reviewed publication.

SAN DIEGO, May 24 -- Antidepressants are widely used to treat the depression in bipolar disorder, despite their lack of approval for the indication and limited evidence of efficacy and safety, investigators reported here.

A review of nationwide prescribing patterns of psychotropic drugs for patients with diagnosed bipolar disorder revealed that more than half received antidepressants as initial monotherapy, with anticonvulsant drugs coming in a distant second, reported Ross J. Baldessarini, M.D., of Harvard, and colleagues.

"Utilization rates for antidepressants were very high despite a lack of compelling evidence of their efficacy or safety in bipolar depression, and polytherapy came to dominate treatment by one year," the investigators wrote in a poster presentation at the meeting of the American Psychiatric Association here.

For full article, please visit:
http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/depression/article/10168/57881

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