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Keywords:

  • bipolar disorder;
  • combination therapy;
  • divalproex;
  • lithium;
  • mania;
  • quetiapine

Objective:  Evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of quetiapine (QTP) combined with lithium (Li) or divalproex (DVP) in the treatment of acute mania.

Methods:  Patients were randomized to 21 days of double-blind treatment with QTP plus Li/DVP, or placebo (PBO) plus Li/DVP. QTP was rapidly dosed up to a maximum of 800 mg/day; Li was dosed to 0.7–1.0 mEq/L; or DVP to 50–100 μg/mL.

Results:  Fifty-six of 91 (61.5%) individuals in the QTP + Li/DVP group compared with 49 of 100 (49%) taking PBO + Li/DVP completed the study. A significantly greater mean reduction in total Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) score was observed at end-point in patients receiving QTP + Li/DVP compared with those in the PBO + Li/DVP group (−13.76 versus −9.93; p = 0.021). The response rate (≥50% YMRS improvement) was significantly higher in the QTP + Li/DVP group than in PBO + Li/DVP-treated patients (54.3% versus 32.6%; p = 0.005), as was the proportion of patients achieving clinical remission (YMRS < 12) (45.7% versus 25.8%; p = 0.007). Patients receiving QTP + Li/DVP also had a significantly greater improvement in Clinical Global Impressions-Bipolar (CGI-BP) Severity of Illness scores (−1.38 versus −0.78; p = 0.001). The mean last-week dose of QTP was 584 mg/day in patients meeting response criteria. Common adverse events (at least 10% and twice the rate of Li/DVP) in the QTP + Li/DVP group included somnolence, dry mouth, asthenia, and postural hypotension.

Conclusions:  Quetiapine combined with either Li or DVP has superior efficacy compared with Li or DVP monotherapy for treating patients with bipolar mania. Combination therapy was well-tolerated and most adverse events were mild, withdrawal because of adverse events being only 5% compared with 6% on Li or DVP monotherapy.