STEP-BD and bipolar depression: what have we learned?

Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2007 Dec;9(6):497-503. doi: 10.1007/s11920-007-0068-9.


This article summarizes recent findings from the STEP-BD project pertaining to bipolar depression treatment. Highlighted are four papers that report, in turn, a large, randomized controlled trial of adjunctive antidepressants; a large, randomized controlled trial of adjunctive psychosocial therapies (cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal social rhythms therapy, and family-focused therapy); a small, randomized controlled trial contrasting lamotrigine, risperidone, and inositol as add-on therapies for refractory bipolar depression; and a naturalistic study of the risks of relapse during preventive therapy. The STEP-BD results highlight the challenge of treating bipolar depression to remission, illustrate the value of adjunctive psychotherapies, and point to new directions for research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy
  • Bipolar Disorder / therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Family Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Periodicity
  • Social Behavior


  • Antidepressive Agents