Friday, November 9, 2012

Risperidone Most Effective in Youth With Bipolar Illness, Study Finds

Of three drugs often used to treat children with bipolar disorder—divalproex, lithium, and risperidone—risperidone appears to be the most effective, Karen Wagner, M.D., Ph.D., vice chair of psychiatry at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, reported at a Brain and Behavior Research Foundation symposium held recently in New York City. Wagner andcolleagues obtained this result in a randomized, controlled, eight-week trial of 279 youth with bipolar I disorder (manic or mixed phase). Higher response rates occured with risperidone (69 percent) than with lithium (36 percent) or divalproex (28 percent). But risperidone did lead to weight gain in the subjects, Wagner said. Moreover, researchers do not yet know what impact the use of risperidone or other psychotropic medications  over the long term might have on youth with bipolar disorder, Wagner indicated.

However, some other researchers have found that psychotropic medications may have the beneficial potential to attenuate or reverse brain-volume deficits in bipolar children. See information on that topic in Psychiatric News.

More information about helping youth with bipolar disorder can be found in American Psychiatric Publishing's Clinical Manual for Management of Bipolar Disorder in Children and Adolescents.

(Image: Andrew Lever//


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