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Antipsychotics Best for Controlling Mania: Study
Date:8/17/2011

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The manic episodes experienced by those with bipolar disorder are better controlled by antipsychotic drugs than mood stabilizers, a new, large study suggests.

Researchers from Italy and the United Kingdom also found that three antipsychotics -- first-generation haloperidol (Haldol) along with later formulations of risperidone (Risperdal) and olanzapine (Zyprexa) -- outperformed 11 other drugs. The scientists analyzed results from 68 randomized, controlled trials with more than 16,000 participants over a 30-year period.

Mania typically alternates with depression in those with bipolar disorder, which tends to run in families and begin between the ages of 15 and 25, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Acute manic episodes -- characterized by hyperactivity, racing thoughts and reckless behavior -- are not experienced by all bipolar patients, but severe symptoms often require hospitalization, health officials said.

Broadly defined as an "excessively raised mood," mania affects about 1 percent of the population, according to the study authors.

"The most important point is that this is a study about acute treatment of manic episodes, not long-term management or prevention," said Dr. Gregory Simon, a psychiatrist and mental health researcher at Group Health Cooperative in Seattle, who was not involved in the study. "The idea that antipsychotic treatments are good for manic episodes is well-known, but the finding that one of the older ones is better is newsworthy here."

Antipsychotics and other drugs commonly used to treat mania are known to have many significant side effects, which can sometimes disrupt treatment. Study co-author Dr. Andrea Cipriani, a lecturer in psychiatry at the University of Verona in Italy, said haloperidol and risperidone are more likely than olanzapine to cause movement problems such as tr
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