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Rapid cycling bipolar disorder: historical overview and focus on emerging treatments

Authors

  • Paul Mackin,

    1. School of Neurology, Neurobiology and Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
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  • Allan H Young

    1. School of Neurology, Neurobiology and Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
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  • The authors have no commercial associations that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with this manuscript.

Paul Mackin, School of Neurology, Neurobiology and Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP, UK. Fax: +44 191 282 0485; e-mail: paul.mackin@ncl.ac.uk

Abstract

Objective:  Rapid cycling bipolar disorder presents a significant challenge with respect to treatment. The cyclical nature of bipolar disorder has been well recognised for over a century, and following Dunner and Fieve's landmark paper in 1974, investigators have increasingly turned their attention to issues such as the definition of rapid cycling, demographic characterisation, treatment response and pharmacologic intervention.

Methods:  A literature search using Medline was performed, and selected articles which consider important developments in the definition, demographics and course of rapid cycling are reviewed. In addition, a systematic review of the literature published during the past 5 years (1999–2004) relating to treatment was conducted.

Results:  Relevant articles are reviewed.

Conclusions:  This review highlights the important developments in our understanding of rapid cycling bipolar disorder, and focuses particularly on the recent literature regarding treatment.

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