Objective: Novel antipsychotics are increasingly used in the treatment of bipolar and schizoaffective mania. This paper presents an overview of the controlled studies in this field.
Method: Using cross-references, a computerized search was performed on MEDLINE and EMBASE psychiatry covering the period 1990–2002.
Results: Olanzapine and risperidone, added to mood stabilizers, and olanzapine as monotherapy enjoy the most evidential support in terms of efficacy and side-effect profile for their use in acute bipolar mania. The use of modern antipsychotics in bipolar prophylaxis and in both the short- and long-term treatment of schizomania has not been widely studied yet.
Conclusion: More controlled trials are still needed comparing modern antipsychotics as monotherapy and adjunctive to mood stabilizers with conventional antipsychotics, lithium, anticonvulsants and with each other in short-term and, especially, maintenance treatment of (schizo)mania. Partly based on controlled studies, olanzapine, risperidone and other modern antipsychotics could become preferable for these indications.