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Treatment strategies in bipolar disorder (BPD) has changed in the last decades and polypharmacy including antipsychotics has become extremely common compared to monotherapy with mood stabilisers. Clinicians tend to use 2 or more atypical antipsychotics despite the lack of evidence to support safety, tolerability and efficacy of this practice.
To determine most frequently used treatment strategies in a sample of bipolar disorder patients and review of the literature.
Analysis of a sample of 35 patients with BPD from Madrid and review of recent literature for evidence arising from international guidelines recommendations and meta-analyses.
Most frequently used treatment approach in our sample was polytherapy, including at least 1 atypical antipsychotic (31%) and polytherapy, including at least 2 antipsychotics (47%) together with mood stabilisers. Only 11% were in monotherapy with mood stabilisers and another 11%were in monotherapy with one atypical antipsychotic but without mood stabilisers. Aripiprazol and olanzapine were among the most preferred atypical antipsychotics. Efficacy and safety of such combinations have not been systematically compared with monotherapy in the literature. Previous data indicate that polytherapy in BPD may incur in important disadvantages .
Treatment of BPD remains challenging. Polytherapy seem to have replaced monotherapy due to less relapses and better results in treatment of affective symptoms. However, compliance and secondary long-term effects should be taken into account. Superiority in terms of efficacy in polytherapy needs to be balanced with tolerability issues. More studies on combination therapy, long-term efficacy and safety are needed.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
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