New medication treatment options for bipolar disorders

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Anticonvulsants; Antipsychotic Agents; Bipolar Disorder; Drug Tolerance; Humans


Mental and Social Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


OBJECTIVE: To assess new treatment options for bipolar disorders.

METHOD: Controlled studies of new treatments for bipolar disorders were identified by computerized searches and reviews of scientific meeting proceedings, and were compiled by drug category.

RESULTS: Two main categories of medications, newer anticonvulsants and newer antipsychotics, are yielding emerging new treatment options for bipolar disorders. Newer anticonvulsants have diverse psychotropic profiles, and although not generally effective for acute mania, may have utility for other aspects of bipolar disorders (e.g. lamotrigine for maintenance or acute bipolar depression), or for comorbid conditions (e.g. gabapentin for anxiety or pain, topiramate for obesity, bulimia, alcohol dependence, or migraine, and zonisamide for obesity). In contrast, newer antipsychotics generally appear effective for acute mania, and some may ultimately prove effective in acute depression (e.g. olanzapine combined with fluoxetine, quetiapine) and maintenance (e.g. olanzapine).

CONCLUSION: Emerging research is yielding new treatment options for bipolar disorders and comorbid conditions.


Citation: Acta Psychiatr Scand Suppl. 2004;(422):18-33. Link to article on publisher's site

At the time of publication, Wendy Marsh was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID