Mood stabilizers for patients with bipolar disorder: The state of the art

A. Carlo Altamura, Licia Lietti, Cristina Dobrea, Beatrice Benatti, Chiara Arici, Bernardo Dellosso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Bipolar disorder (BD) is a prevalent and disabling condition, often comorbid with other medical and psychiatric conditions and frequently misdiagnosed. International treatment guidelines for BD recommend the use of mood stabilizers - either in monotherapy or in association - as the gold standard in both acute and long-term therapy. Commonly used in the clinical practice of BD, mood stabilizers have represented an evolving field over the last few years. The concept of stabilization, in fact, has been stressed as the ultimate objective of the treatment of BD, given the chronic and recurrent nature of the illness, which accounts for its significant levels of impairment and disability. To date, different compounds are included within the broad class of mood stabilizers, with lithium, anticonvulsants and, more recently, atypical antipsychotics being the most representative agents. This article is aimed at providing an updated review of the available literature in relation to the role of mood stabilizers in BD, with particular emphasis on their mechanism of action, main clinical aspects and specific use in the different phases of BD treatment, according to the most recently published international treatment guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-99
Number of pages15
JournalExpert Review of Neurotherapeutics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


  • acute treatment
  • anticonvulsants
  • atypical antipsychotics
  • bipolar disorder
  • depression
  • lithium
  • maintenance treatment
  • mania
  • mood stabilizers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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