Is the combination of a mood stabilizer plus an antipsychotic more effective than mono-therapies in long-term treatment of bipolar disorder? A systematic review

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Abstract

Background Bipolar Disorder (BD) long-term treatment is aimed to prevent relapses associated with worsening cognitive impairment and chronicity. Available mood stabilizers, including lithium, fail to prevent relapses in about 40% of bipolar patients. Purpose of the present paper is to review the available data about the efficacy and tolerability of mood stabilizer plus antipsychotic combined treatments. Method A research in the main database sources has been conducted to obtain an overview about the efficacy and tolerability of the combination of a mood stabilizer plus an antipsychotic in the long-term treatment of BD. Papers with different methodologies but having relapse prevention as main outcome have been included. Results Despite the heterogeneity of studies in terms of methodology, almost all papers reported a major efficacy of combined treatments respect to mood stabilizer mono-therapies but lower tolerability. The antipsychotic that presents more evidence of efficacy in combination with mood stabilizers is quetiapine. Discussion Combined treatments can be a valid option to improve relapse prevention in BD. However, the higher risk for side effects has to be taken into account and specific combinations should be preferred according to patients' medical comorbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-18
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume152-154
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014

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Bipolar Disorder
Antipsychotic Agents
Secondary Prevention
Therapeutics
Recurrence
Lithium
Comorbidity
Databases
Research

Keywords

  • Antipsychotics
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Combined treatment
  • Mood stabilizers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

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title = "Is the combination of a mood stabilizer plus an antipsychotic more effective than mono-therapies in long-term treatment of bipolar disorder? A systematic review",
abstract = "Background Bipolar Disorder (BD) long-term treatment is aimed to prevent relapses associated with worsening cognitive impairment and chronicity. Available mood stabilizers, including lithium, fail to prevent relapses in about 40{\%} of bipolar patients. Purpose of the present paper is to review the available data about the efficacy and tolerability of mood stabilizer plus antipsychotic combined treatments. Method A research in the main database sources has been conducted to obtain an overview about the efficacy and tolerability of the combination of a mood stabilizer plus an antipsychotic in the long-term treatment of BD. Papers with different methodologies but having relapse prevention as main outcome have been included. Results Despite the heterogeneity of studies in terms of methodology, almost all papers reported a major efficacy of combined treatments respect to mood stabilizer mono-therapies but lower tolerability. The antipsychotic that presents more evidence of efficacy in combination with mood stabilizers is quetiapine. Discussion Combined treatments can be a valid option to improve relapse prevention in BD. However, the higher risk for side effects has to be taken into account and specific combinations should be preferred according to patients' medical comorbidity.",
keywords = "Antipsychotics, Bipolar Disorder, Combined treatment, Mood stabilizers",
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AU - Serati, Marta

AU - Altamura, A. Carlo

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N2 - Background Bipolar Disorder (BD) long-term treatment is aimed to prevent relapses associated with worsening cognitive impairment and chronicity. Available mood stabilizers, including lithium, fail to prevent relapses in about 40% of bipolar patients. Purpose of the present paper is to review the available data about the efficacy and tolerability of mood stabilizer plus antipsychotic combined treatments. Method A research in the main database sources has been conducted to obtain an overview about the efficacy and tolerability of the combination of a mood stabilizer plus an antipsychotic in the long-term treatment of BD. Papers with different methodologies but having relapse prevention as main outcome have been included. Results Despite the heterogeneity of studies in terms of methodology, almost all papers reported a major efficacy of combined treatments respect to mood stabilizer mono-therapies but lower tolerability. The antipsychotic that presents more evidence of efficacy in combination with mood stabilizers is quetiapine. Discussion Combined treatments can be a valid option to improve relapse prevention in BD. However, the higher risk for side effects has to be taken into account and specific combinations should be preferred according to patients' medical comorbidity.

AB - Background Bipolar Disorder (BD) long-term treatment is aimed to prevent relapses associated with worsening cognitive impairment and chronicity. Available mood stabilizers, including lithium, fail to prevent relapses in about 40% of bipolar patients. Purpose of the present paper is to review the available data about the efficacy and tolerability of mood stabilizer plus antipsychotic combined treatments. Method A research in the main database sources has been conducted to obtain an overview about the efficacy and tolerability of the combination of a mood stabilizer plus an antipsychotic in the long-term treatment of BD. Papers with different methodologies but having relapse prevention as main outcome have been included. Results Despite the heterogeneity of studies in terms of methodology, almost all papers reported a major efficacy of combined treatments respect to mood stabilizer mono-therapies but lower tolerability. The antipsychotic that presents more evidence of efficacy in combination with mood stabilizers is quetiapine. Discussion Combined treatments can be a valid option to improve relapse prevention in BD. However, the higher risk for side effects has to be taken into account and specific combinations should be preferred according to patients' medical comorbidity.

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