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Psychopharmacological treatment of psychotic mania and psychotic bipolar depression compared to non-psychotic mania and non-psychotic bipolar depression

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OBJECTIVES: An evidence base for the treatment of mania and bipolar depression with psychotic symptoms is lacking. Nevertheless, clinicians may have a preference for treating episodes of bipolar disorder with or without psychotic symptoms in different ways, which is likely to reflect notions of differential efficacy of treatments between these subtypes. This study aimed to investigate whether the psychopharmacological treatment of psychotic and non-psychotic episodes of mania and bipolar depression, respectively, differs in clinical practice.

METHODS: We conducted a register-based study assessing the psychopharmacological treatment of all individuals receiving their first diagnosis of mania or bipolar depression between 2010 and 2012. The psychopharmacological treatment within 3 months following the time of diagnosis was considered. Potential differences in psychopharmacological treatment between the psychotic and non-psychotic subtypes of mania and bipolar depression, respectively, were investigated by means of Pearson's χ(2) test and logistic regression adjusted for sex and age at diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

RESULTS: A total of 827 patients were included in the analyses. The adjusted odds ratio (aOR) for treatment with an antipsychotic was 1.71 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.18-2.48, P<.01) for psychotic mania and 3.89 (95% CI: 1.95-7.76, P<.001) for psychotic bipolar depression. The aOR for treatment with the combination of an antipsychotic and an anticonvulsant was 1.60 (95% CI: 1.06-2.43, P<.05) for psychotic mania. The aOR for treatment with the combination of an antipsychotic and an antidepressant was 2.50 (95% CI: 1.43-4.37, P<.01) for bipolar psychotic depression.

CONCLUSIONS: It would be of interest to conduct studies evaluating whether antipsychotics represent the superior pharmacological treatment for psychotic mania and psychotic bipolar depression.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBipolar disorders
Pages (from-to)505–512
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017

    Research areas

  • Adult, Age of Onset, Anticonvulsants/therapeutic use, Antidepressive Agents/therapeutic use, Antipsychotic Agents/therapeutic use, Bipolar Disorder/diagnosis, Cohort Studies, Denmark/epidemiology, Drug Therapy, Combination/methods, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Registries, Socioeconomic Factors

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