Saturday, February 14, 2009

Manic Symptoms in Bipolar Depression Linked to Drug-Induced Mood Cycling

Patients with bipolar disorder who are on antidepressants may be at increased risk of rapid mood switches when even minimal manic symptoms are present, researchers found.

Bipolar patients with even low scores for symptoms of racing thoughts, distractibility, psychomotor agitation, and pressured speech were significantly more likely to develop treatment-emergent mania when started on antidepressants, Mark A. Frye, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic here, and colleagues reported in the February issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

These findings are the first prospective, controlled data supporting heightened risk of mood cycling and add to mounting evidence against antidepressants in bipolar disorder, noted Christopher D. Schneck, M.D., of the University of Colorado, in an accompanying editorial.

By re-emphasizing the importance of evaluating these symptoms, he wrote, "clinicians may be able to better predict which patients have an underlying bipolar diathesis and thereby avoid giving them antidepressants."


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