September 14, 2005

Stimulant Use Predicts Poor Prognosis

Adolescents who were treated with stimulant may have a more severe case of bipolar disorder and therefore may have a poorer prognosis. Researchers in Ohio looked at the effects of antidepressant and stimulant treatment in those suffering from bipolar disorder. They looked at the severity of their bipolar disorder in 80 hospitalized adolescents that were suffering from manic or mixed bipolar disorder. Having a comorbid ADHD diagnosis was occurent in 49% of the adolescents. 35% of the group had been treated with stimulants and 44% had been treated with antidepressants.

"The researchers found that illness severity in hospital, as measured by length of stay, requirement for "as needed" medication, and the number of "seclusion and restrain" orders, was associated with a history of stimulant use. In contrast, there was no link with a history of ADHD diagnosis, antidepressant treatment, or mixed or manic BP type" (PsychiatryMatters.MD).

They noted that having a more "severe hospital course" for those taking stimulants may be due to their comorbid ADHD, since all of those who received stimulant treatment had ADHD. Although this is a complicating factor, it still lead the researchers in this study to believe that adolescents with bipolar disorder who had been exposed to stimulants had a poorer prognosis and a more severe form of bipolar disorder.

Original Source: Stimulant exposure predicts poor prognosis in bipolar adolescents. PsychiatryMatters.MD.

This research article was published in J Affect Disord 2002; 70: 323–327

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