Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Pharmacological interventions for acute bipolar mania: a systematic review of randomized placebo-controlled trials

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Mary Tacchi


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


Objectives: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, placebo-controlled trials in acute bipolar mania to summarize available data on drug treatment of mania. Methods: We included trials of medications licensed in the USA or UK for the treatment of any phase of bipolar disorder. Outcomes investigated were changes in mania scores, attrition, extrapyramidal effects and weight change. Data were combined through meta-analyses. Results: We included 13 studies (involving 3,089 subjects) and identified 2 studies for each of the following medications: carbamazepine, haloperidol, lithium, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone, valproate semisodium and aripiprazole. All drugs showed significant benefit compared with placebo for reduction in mania scores. Compared with placebo, for all antipsychotics pooled, response to treatment (>= 50% reduction in Young Mania Rating Scale scores) was increased more than 1.7 times [relative risk (RR) = 1.74, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.54, 1.96]; for all mood stabilizers pooled, response to treatment was doubled (RR 2.01, 95% CI = 1.66, 2.43). Overall withdrawals were 34% fewer (24-43%) with antipsychotics, and 26% fewer (10-39%) with mood stabilizers. However, for carbamazepine, aripiprazole and lithium an increase in risk of withdrawal could not be excluded. Small but significant increases in extrapyramidal side effects occurred with risperidone and aripiprazole. Conclusions: Antipsychotics and mood stabilizers are significantly more effective than placebo for the treatment of acute mania. Their effect sizes are similar. Small differences between effect sizes may be due to differences in the patients included in the studies or to chance. Carbamazepine and lithium may be more poorly tolerated, and antipsychotics cause more extrapyramidal side effects.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Smith LA, Cornelius V, Warnock A, Tacchi MJ, Taylor D

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Bipolar Disorders

Year: 2007

Volume: 9

Issue: 6

Pages: 551-560

ISSN (print): 1399-5618

ISSN (electronic): 1398-5647


DOI: 10.1111/j.1399-5618.2007.00468.x