The Treatment of Bipolar Depression: Current Status and Future Perspectives

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Abstract

Purpose of Review: This paper aims to review current available treatment options and to consider future directions in the treatment of bipolar depression.

Recent Findings: There are a limited number of established treatments that have demonstrated varied efficacy in acute bipolar depression including modern antipsychotics (quetiapine, lurasidone, olanzapine ± fluoxetine and recently cariprazine) and mood stabilisers (lamotrigine and valproate). Lithium has a role in protecting against depressive relapses and suicide. Alternative and experimental treatments including pramipexole, modafinil/armodafinil, omega-3 fatty acids and thyroxine may be used to augment the treatment of bipolar depression. Ketamine represents a major breakthrough, producing rapid reductions in depressive symptoms even in cases of treatment-resistance, but challenges remain in how best to maintain response and reduce unwanted side effects.

Summary: There remains uncertainty with regard to the relative efficacy and safety of established and experimental treatments for bipolar depression. Further work using consistent, optimal trial designs as well as further investigation into novel compounds and treatment interventions is warranted.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Behavioral Neuroscience Reports
Volume7
Issue number1
Early online date15 Jan 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

Keywords

  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics
  • Bipolar depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Experimental treatments
  • Mood stabilisers

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