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Why Do Clinicians Maintain Antidepressants in Some Patients With Acute Mania? Hints From the European Mania in Bipolar Longitudinal Evaluation of Medication (EMBLEM), a Large Naturalistic Study
Objective: Antidepressants are supposed to be withdrawn during a manic episode. The aim of this study was to analyze the characteristics of manic patients who received antidepressants during a manic phase in a large, naturalistic study.
Method: The European Mania in Bipolar Longitudinal Evaluation of Medication was a 2-year prospective observational study of inpatients and outpatients with acute mania/mixed mania (DSM-IV or ICD-10 criteria) conducted in 14 European countries. Of 2,416 manic patients who continued into the maintenance phase of the study, 345 (14%) were taking an antidepressant and 2,071 (86%) were not taking an antidepressant at baseline, week 1, and/or week 2 postbaseline. Demographic and clinical variables were collected at baseline and each study visit up to 24 months. Outcome measures included the Clinical Global Impressions-Bipolar Disorder scale (CGI-BP overall, mania, and depression scores) at 12 weeks and 24 months, the 5-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS-5), and the Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) at 12 weeks only. The present study was conducted from December 2002 to June 2004.
Results: More antidepressant maintenance use was seen in patients with mixed episodes (P < .001), rapid cyclers (P < .02), patients with more previous depressive episodes (P < .001), and patients with higher mean HDRS-5 score at baseline (P < .001)—specifically patients with anxiety (P = .013). Patients in the antidepressant group had significantly higher CGI-BP depression scores (P < .001) and a significantly higher rate of depression relapse (P < .001) at both 12 weeks and 24 months.
Conclusions: Patients with mania receiving antidepressants are more likely to be outpatients with mixed episodes, anxiety, or rapid cycling and have a higher risk of depression relapse during follow-up.
J Clin Psychiatry 2010;71(8):1000–1006
Submitted: January 8, 2009; accepted March 6, 2009.
Online ahead of print: March 23, 2010 (doi:10.4088/JCP.09m05026gre).
Corresponding author: Eduard Vieta, MD, PhD, Clinical Institute of Neuroscience, University Clinic Hospital of Barcelona, Villarroel 170, 08036-Barcelona, Spain (firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com).