Long-term Use of Atypical Antipsychotics in Bipolar Disorder


Nova Southeastern University, College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy Practice, 3200 South University Drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33328; e-mail: glevin@nsu.nova.edu


Bipolar disorder is a chronic disease that may require lifetime treatment. The maintenance therapy of bipolar disorder can be challenging for the treating clinician. Currently, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) guidelines, lithium, valproic acid, lamotrigine, carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, and the antipsychotics are recommended for the maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder. The antipsychotics are recommended to be continued only if the clinician decides that they are necessary for the control of persistent psychosis or for prophylaxis against recurrence. Although the APA guidelines provide sufficient evidence for the use of these mood stabilizers, newer drugs such as the atypical antipsychotics are being investigated for use in the maintenance phase of treatment of bipolar disorder.