Acute mania is frequently a medical emergency requiring hospitalization for behavioral control, rapid resolution of irritability, agitation, de-escalation of mood, and decreasing of risk-taking behavior. Lithium efficacy in the management of acute mania was reported in 1949 and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1970. Chlorpromazine, from the class of typical antipsychotics, was approved for treatment of bipolar disorder in 1973. Typical antipsychotics were frequently used alone and as adjunct for the treatment of bipolar mania for the next 2 decades. Divalproex was approved by the FDA for the treatment of acute mania in 1994. Since the approval of olanzapine in 2000, all five atypical antipsychotics, namely risperidone (2003), quetiapine (2004), ziprasidone (2004), and aripiprazole (2004), have been approved by the FDA for the management of acute mania. Clozapine is the only atypical antipsychotic not FDA approved for any phase of bipolar disorder. This article will systematically review some of the major studies published, randomized controlled monotherapy, and adjunct therapy trials involving five atypical antipsychotics and newer anticonvulsants for the treatment of acute bipolar mania.
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