Alternatives to lithium and divalproex in the maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder
Article first published online: 28 MAY 2003
Volume 5, Issue 3, pages 203–216, June 2003
How to Cite
Gnanadesikan, M., Freeman, M. P. and Gelenberg, A. J. (2003), Alternatives to lithium and divalproex in the maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disorders, 5: 203–216. doi: 10.1034/j.1399-5618.2003.00032.x
- Issue published online: 28 MAY 2003
- Article first published online: 28 MAY 2003
- Received 3 January 2001, revised and accepted for publication 12 March 2002
- atypical antipsychotics;
- bipolar disorder;
- maintenance therapy;
- mood stabilizers
Objectives: The role of lithium carbonate in the maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder is well established. Unfortunately, many patients fail to respond adequately to this agent or are unable to tolerate its adverse effects. Divalproex has become a commonly used alternative to lithium, but it also is ineffective or poorly tolerated in many patients. This article attempts to review the available data on maintenance therapy in bipolar disorder with a variety of anticonvulsants and antipsychotics (both conventional and novel), with reference to relevant studies in acute mania and bipolar depression as well.
Methods: Evidence on maintenance therapy and relevant acute-phase data were collected using MEDLINE database searches.
Results: Data on maintenance therapy with agents other than lithium and divalproex are sparse, and often derived from open, uncontrolled studies. Implications and flaws of available data are discussed.
Conclusions: Other than lithium, there are few robust double-blind data to support the use of a variety of agents in the maintenance phase. However, uncontrolled data suggest that a number of agents merit further study.