Background: The efficacy and tolerability of antidepressants (ADs) to treat or avoid episodes of depression in bipolar disorder (BPD) patients as well as reasons for using them remain unresolved.
Methods: We analyzed patient-characteristics and outcomes of episodes of acute major depression among 290 adult, DSM-IV BPD patients (71% type-I, 52% women) at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona; 80% were given an AD and 20% were not; 80% of both groups also received mood-stabilizers. We evaluated factors associated with AD-treatment using bivariate analyses and multiple logistic-regression modeling.
Results: Factors associated with AD-use by multivariate modeling ranked: [a] more years ill, [b] depressive first-lifetime episode, [c] more depressions/year, [d] melancholic index episode, and [e] less affective illness in first-degree relatives. Within 8weeks, depression improved by ≥50%, less often among BPD patients given an AD (64.4%; 38.6% without switching into hypo/mania) than not (82.1%; 78.6% without switching).
Conclusions: Use of ADs to treat acute BP-depression was very common and associated with a more severe clinical history. Mood-switching was prevalent with AD-treatment even with mood-stabilizers present.
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