Using an adjunctive antidepressant medication as well as a mood stabiliser in patients with bipolar depression may not be useful, according to US researchers. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 179 subjects with bipolar depression were randomly assigned to treatment with a mood stabiliser plus antidepressant therapy or mood stabiliser plus placebo. The primary outcome was the number of patients achieving durable recovery (8 consecutive weeks of euthymia). The rate of switch to mania or hypomania was also examined. No significant differences were found between the two groups in rates of durable recovery, nor was there a difference in the number of subjects experiencing mania or hypomania. The authors concluded that mood-stabilising therapy provides equal benefit to adjunctive therapy with antidepressant medication in these patients and called for further research into the effectiveness of various mood stabilisers in the treatment of bipolar disorder.
Publication of your online response is subject to the Medical Journal of Australia's editorial discretion. You will be notified by email within five working days should your response be accepted.