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June 15, 2005

Antipsychotic May Control Mania

An antipsychotic drug named Amisulpride is customarily used to treat schizophrenia, but a new use for it may have been found. Studies to look at its effectiveness in treating bipolar disorder have been done, and the results look promising.

"The researchers treated 20 acutely manic patients with amisulpride in a 6-week study. A total of 14 patients completed the study. Two patients withdrew due to lack of efficacy and two due to side effects. Another patient decided to withdraw and the sixth patient was lost to follow-up. In the final analysis, amisulpride treatment resulted in significant improvements in standardized scales measuring mania and depression. Thirteen of the 14 patients 'were considered responders, as they achieved at least 50 percent improvement in their baseline (mania) scores,' Vieta's team writes. 'Remission was achieved by 10 patients,' they note" (Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, May 2005).

Controlled trials still have to be done before the effectiveness of Amisulpride can be judged in treating mania. But if those trials go well, the drug will eventually be assessed by the FDA. After the FDA studies the effects on bipolar patients the drug may be put up for approval.

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