Pharmacological response in juvenile bipolar disorder subtypes: A naturalistic retrospective examination

Gabriele Masi, Giulio Perugi, Stefania Millepiedi, Maria Mucci, Chiara Pfanner, Stefano Berloffa, Cinzia Pari, Antonella Gagliano, Fulvio D'Amico, Hagop S. Akiskal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study reports on the naturalistic pharmacotherapy of 266 youths with bipolar disorder (BP), manic or hypomanic episode (158 males and 108 females, 13.8 ± 2.8 years), first treated with monotherapy on valproic acid (VPA) (n=158, 59.4%), lithium (n=90, 33.8%) or atypical antipsychotics (n=18, 6.8%). Among the patients receiving mood stabilizers, 59.5% of those treated with VPA and 47.8% of those receiving lithium did not need other antimanic agents (mood stabilizers and/or atypical antipsychotics). Lower severity was associated with a greater persistence of both VPA and lithium monotherapy. Factors associated with greater persistence of VPA monotherapy were BP II and co-occurring generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder and simple phobias. On the contrary, BP I and co-occurring psychotic symptoms and/or conduct disorder were associated with a lower persistence of VPA monotherapy. Factors associated with lower persistence of lithium monotherapy were younger age and the association with attention deficit hyper-activity disorder (ADHD). Type of BP and presence of psychotic symptoms and conduct disorder did not affect the lithium monotherapy. Overall, predictors of non-response (multiple stepwise logistic regression) in both VPA and lithium groups were baseline Clinical Global Impression (CGI) Severity score and comorbid conduct disorder; while psychotic symptoms and absence of comorbid generalized anxiety disorder were predictors of poorer treatment response only in the VPA group, and chronic course, comorbid ADHD and absence of comorbid panic disorder were predictors only in the lithium group. Such naturalistic data from an ordinary clinical setting have relevance to clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-198
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - May 2010


  • Adolescents
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Children
  • Comorbidity
  • Lithium
  • Valproic acid (VPA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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