Antipsychotic Drug Is Effective in Treating Bipolar Disorder

Susan Farley
Published Online: Wednesday, September 1, 2004
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In a phase 3, double-blind, multicenter, placebo-controlled trial, the antipsychotic drug aripiprazole (Abilify) was found to safely and effectively treat various aspects of bipolar disorder. Using outcome measurements such as the Young Mania Rating Scale, the Clinical Global Impression Scale?Bipolar Disorder, and the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale Hostility Subscale, patients taking 30 mg/day of aripiprazole for 1 week showed significant improvements by day 4, compared with patients taking placebo. Patients in both groups showed a difference in body weight, but none was statistically significant. Adverse events?such as dyspepsia, constipation, akathisia, and extremity pain?occurred at least twice as often in the aripiprazole group. The intensity of these events, however, was considered generally mild to moderate. Discontinuation rates were similar in both the aripiprazole group and the placebo group.

Researchers conducted a long-term relapse-prevention study of patients with bipolar disorder receiving aripiprazole. They found that the time until relapse was significantly prolonged among patients in the aripiprazole group. Furthermore, incidence of relapse (manic, mixed, or depressive symptoms) was less in patients treated with aripiprazole. Results showed that only anxiety and nervousness were more common in the aripiprazole group than in the placebo group.

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