• haloperidol;
  • manic episode;
  • zotepine

Aims:  Atypical antipsychotics are increasingly used in the management of acute mania. This study was conducted to investigate the efficacy and tolerability of zotepine compared to haloperidol in combination with a mood stabilizer (lithium or valproate) for treatment of acute mania.

Methods:  This was a multi-center, randomized, rater-blinded, parallel-group, flexible-dose study. Forty-five hospitalized patients with moderate-to-severe manic, bipolar disorder (DSM-IV) were randomly assigned to a zotepine or a haloperidol 4-week treatment group.

Results:  There was no significant between-group difference in the Young Mania Rating Scale total scores between the zotepine and haloperidol groups (−23.7 ± 12.1 vs –22.3 ± 11.0, respectively). The adverse events in both groups were mild to moderate. The haloperidol group reported a higher incidence of treatment-related adverse events, especially parkinsonism and akathisia, compared to the zotepine group. Serum uric acid decreased more in the zotepine group than in the haloperidol group.

Conclusion:  In combination with a mood stabilizer, zotepine appears to be as effective as haloperidol in treating moderate-to-severe mania in the acute phase, but has the advantages of lowering hyperuricemia and fewer extrapyramidal side-effects. Double-blinded studies with larger sample sizes are warranted to confirm these findings.