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Lithium and quetiapine are considered standard maintenance agents for bipolar disorder yet it is unclear how their efficacy compares with each other.
To investigate the differential effect of lithium and quetiapine on symptoms of depression, mania, general functioning, global illness severity and quality of life in patients with recently stabilised first-episode mania.
Maintenance trial of patients with first-episode mania stabilised on a combination of lithium and quetiapine, subsequently randomised to lithium or quetiapine monotherapy (up to 800 mg/day) and followed up for 1 year. (Trial registration: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry – ACTRN12607000639426.)
In total, 61 individuals were randomised. Within mixed-model repeated measures analyses, significant omnibus treatment × visit interactions were observed for measures of overall psychopathology, psychotic symptoms and functioning. Planned and post hoc comparisons further demonstrated the superiority of lithium treatment over quetiapine.
In people with first-episode mania treated with a combination of lithium and quetiapine, continuation treatment with lithium rather than quetiapine is superior in terms of mean levels of symptoms during a 1-year evolution.
Since bipolar affective disorder has been recorded, clinicians treating patients with this disorder have noted the cyclic nature of episodes, particularly an increase in mania in the spring and summer months and depression during winter.
The aim of this study was to investigate seasonality in symptom onset and service admissions over a period of 10 years in a group of patients (n= 359) with first-episode (FE) mania (n= 133), FE schizoaffective disorder (n= 49) and FE schizophrenia (n= 177).
Patients were recruited if they were between 15 and 28 years of age and if they resided in the geographical mental health service catchment area. The number of patients experiencing symptom onset and service admission over each month and season was recorded.
In terms of seasonality of time of service admission, the results indicate a high overall seasonality (particularly in men), which was observed in both the schizoaffective and the bipolar groups. In terms of seasonality of symptom onset, the results indicate that seasonality remains in the male bipolar group, but other groups have no seasonal trend.
This provides further evidence that systems mediating the entrainment of biological rhythms to the environment may be more pronounced in BPAD than in schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia. These results may help facilitate the preparedness of mental heath services for patients at different times of the year.
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