Antidepressants ineffective in bipolar disorder, say researchers

According to findings from the multi-site Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD), adding a typical antidepressant (in this case, Paxil or Welbutrin) to bipolar disorder patients already on a conventional mood stabilizer such as lithium, valproate (Depakote), or carbamazepine (Tegretol) may not do any good.
The findings were published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine. The full text of the study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health to the tune of almost $27 million, is available online.
The alleviation or modulation of typical “vegetative” depressive symptoms (e.g., diminished concentration, anorexia and weight loss, psychomotor retardation, insomnia or hypersomnia, fatigue) in people also prone to mania can be dangerous. People with vague suicidal ideas, for example, who simply lack the drive to put their plans into play may, if given an antidepressant, suddenly find themselves energetic, yet still profoundly depressed. This canclearly be a deadly combination. On top of that, manic episodes are rarely helpful, as they often lend themselves to exorbitant spending, sexual, alcohol, drug, or blogging binges.

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  1. #1 by Scott Simmons on April 2, 2007 - 11:51 am

    I don’t think I ever had a manic episode before the psychs put me on antidepressants … Ugly times.
    (Heh. Blogging binges.)

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