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One-drug therapy works for bipolar disorder

CLEVELAND -- For the first time, researchers have demonstrated in separate short-term trials that a single drug therapy may be effective in treating both the manic and depressive phases of bipolar disorder. The condition (bipolar I and II) affects approximately 8 million Americans, who have relied on a combination of drugs to manage their symptoms, and who remain at high risk of committing suicide because of the difficulty in treating the disorder.

A study of the antipsychotic drug Seroquel is published in the July issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry. The study's principal investigator is Joseph R. Calabrese, MD, principal investigator and director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Bipolar Research Center at University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

Dr. Calabrese led the randomized trial of 542 patients with bipolar depression at 39 sites in the United States. Seroquel is currently approved for the short-term treatment of acute manic episodes in bipolar I disorder and the treatment of schizophrenia. This is the first study of Seroquel in patients with both bipolar I (defined as one fully manic episode with periods of major depression) and bipolar II (defined as periods of hypomania, or high levels of energy and impulsiveness alternating with episodes of major depression), in which researchers specifically studied the drug's impact on the depressive phase of the illness. Typically, antipsychotic medications are not used as specific treatments for bipolar depression.

"Though we will soon undertake an even larger trial, these preliminary findings should shape the standard of care for bipolar disorder going forward," says Dr. Calabrese, professor of psychiatry at Case and a nationally renowned researcher in bipolar disease. The Center, which he co-directs with pediatric psychiatrist Dr. Robert Findling, is the first NIMH-funded center exclusively dedicated to the developm
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Contact: Eric Sandstrom
eric.sandstrom@uhhs.com
216-844-3825
University Hospitals of Cleveland
1-Jul-2005


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