Use of antipsychotic drugs and lithium in mania

John Cookson
2001 British Journal of Psychiatry  
Studies highlighting the difficulties associated with lithium suggest that the role of antipsychotic drugs and mood stabilisers in bipolar disorder should be reconsidered. Aims To review the efficacy and mode of action of antipsychotic drugs in mania, and to consider the differences between official guidelines and routine clinical practice in the use of these agents for mania. Method Review of research, guideline- and practice-based literature. Results Guidelines recommend lithium or valproate
more » ... s first-line treatments for mania, and antipsychotic agents only as 'adjuncts' for agitation, dangerous behaviour or psychosis. However, in routine practice, antipsychotic drugs are often prescribed. The effectiveness of these agents in mania has been established by several studies; newer atypical compounds demonstrate antimanic efficacy with a reduced incidence of neurological side-effects. Conclusion Antipsychotic drugs are important in the treatment of bipolar disorder and mania. Future studies should evaluate the long-term efficacy and safety of newer atypical antipsychotic agents, and the place of anticonvulsants in combination with antipsychotics in bipolar disorder.
doi:10.1192/bjp.178.41.s148 pmid:11388955 fatcat:x7ye2qnagnh2jegkvlkd6blgty