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December 7, 2009

FDA Approves Zyprexa for Bipolar Adolescents

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Zyprexa (olanzapine) for treatment of schizophrenia and manic/mixed episodes associated with Bipolar I disorder in adolescents aged 13-17 years. This approval, announced on Dec. 4, comes with plenty of warnings for would be users of the drug. The updated Zyprexa label states that clinicians should take into consideration the increased potential for weight gain and hyperlipidemia in adolescents compared to adults and the potential for long-term risks, which in many cases, may lead them to consider prescribing other drugs first in adolescents. For additional reference review our Oct. 28 blog which Read more...
Posted by Michael Lane at 11:14 AM | Comments (39)


December 6, 2009

FDA Approves Seroquel for Bipolar Children and Adolescents

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Friday that Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate) has been approved for the acute treatment of manic episodes associated with bipolar I disorder in children and adolescents (10-17 years of age), both as monotherapy (single-drug therapy) and as an adjunct to Lithium or Depakote (valproic acid). The FDA also approved Seroquel for the treatment of schizophrenia in adolescents (13-17 years of age) as monotherapy. "Bipolar mania and schizophrenia in children and adolescents, while rare, are serious disorders and it is important to have treatments approved for use in this patient population," said Howard Hutchinson, M.D., Read more...
Posted by Michael Lane at 9:31 PM | Comments (10)


November 23, 2009

FDA Approves Geodon for Bipolar Disorder

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the atypical antipsychotic Geodon (ziprasidone) for maintenance treatment of bipolar I disorder as an adjunct to lithium or Depakote (valporate) in adults. In 2004, the FDA approved Geodon for treatment of acute manic or mixed episodes in Bipolar 1 Disorder. The additional approval for maintenance treatment, announced by Pfizer on Nov. 20, gives doctors and patients another long-term use drug to help stabilize moods. Geodon was initially FDA approved, in 2001, to treat schizophrenia. Unlike other atypical antipsychotics, it appears that Geodon may not to be associated with weight gain. In Read more...
Posted by Michael Lane at 8:35 PM | Comments (10)


November 18, 2009

Frontline Video explores Bipolar Disorder in children

Frontline recently aired a program that explores the rapid increase in diagnoses of bipolar disorder in children during the past 7-8 years; the program is an update from earlier Frontline pieces which aired in 2001 and 2008. This program offers an overview of the current environment and attitude in the US vis-à-vis diagnosing young children with bipolar disorder and prescribing psychiatric medicines (many of which are "off label" for kids and adolescents). The video asserts that the rapid increase in diagnosis of bipolar disorder for kids is primarily a US phenomenon and conveys the heart wrenching uncertainty for families who Read more...
Posted by Michael Lane at 10:23 AM | Comments (7)


October 28, 2009

Children taking meds for bipolar disorder can effect rapid weight gain

Children taking psychiatric medications for bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses can experience rapid weight gain according to a new study published in the Oct. 28 The Journal of the American Medicine Association. The findings also link some of these drugs to metabolic changes such as elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. The Study monitored 272 children from the Queens, NY area, ages 4-19 (with an average age of 14), over a six year period (2001-2007); these children were receiving atypical antipsychotics such as Abilify, Risperdal, Seroquel, and Zyprexa for the first time. These medicines are considered 2nd generation drugs Read more...
Posted by Michael Lane at 11:45 AM | Comments (5)


October 13, 2009

Researchers find impact of single gene on Bipolar Disorder - Question use of Lithium for Children

Summary A new study suggests that a single gene, called GSK-3, controls the signals that determine how many neurons actually end up composing the brain. This has important implications for patients with neuropsychiatric illness, as links have recently been drawn between GSK-3 and schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder. In populating the growing brain, neural stem cells must strike a delicate balance between two key processes - proliferation, in which the cells multiply to provide plenty of starting materials - and differentiation, in which those materials evolve into functioning neurons. If the stem cells proliferate too much, they could grow out Read more...
Posted by Michael Lane at 1:38 PM | Comments (9)


February 24, 2009

AstraZeneca announces Extended Release version of Seroquel for Bipolar Depression

AstraZeneca today launched its once-daily SEROQUEL XR (quetiapine fumarate) Extended-Release Tablets for the acute treatment of the depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder and the manic and mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder, as well as the maintenance treatment of bipolar I disorder as adjunctive therapy to lithium or divalproex. SEROQUEL XR is also now available in two new tablet strengths, 50-mg and 150-mg. Once-daily SEROQUEL XR is the only medication FDA-approved for the treatment of acute depressive, manic, and mixed episodes of bipolar disorder. "Bipolar depression is a serious and debilitating illness with few approved treatment options," said Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 12:09 PM | Comments (2)


September 16, 2008

New Medications Coming

Most new drugs that are used in treatment for schizophrenia have also been found to be helpful in bipolar disorder, and have been approved for use in treatment of bipolar disorder. Wired magazine writes about a series of new drugs that are in the research phase and may (if they prove effective) eventually be used in treatment for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Read the story: Angel Dust Inspired a new Schizophrenia Drug Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 10:41 AM | Comments (6)


Interesting Interview with Brain Scientist Nancy Andreasen

There is a fascinating interview with Nancy Andreasen, a leading brain researcher, in today's New York Times. In the interview she discusses her research she's been doing for the past 18 years and which is not yet published. Much of her research is related to schizophrenia, but because schizophrenia is thought to have a lot of genetic overlap with bipolar disorder - her research may also be relevant to bipolar disorder. In it she notes "The big finding is that people with schizophrenia are losing brain tissue at a more rapid rate than healthy people of comparable age. Some are Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 10:36 AM | Comments (7)


September 15, 2008

NIMH study suggests that Newer Antipsychotics No Better Than Older Drug for Treating Child and Adolescents

A new study by the National Institute of Mental Health suggests that two newer atypical antipsychotic medications were no more effective than an older conventional antipsychotic in treating child and adolescent schizophrenia and may lead to more metabolic side effects. While this study focuses on the use of the medications in youth diagnosed with schizophrenia - frequently these same medications (Risperdal and Zyprexa) are also used in the treatment of adolescent bipolar disorder. “Schizophrenia and schizophrenia-related disorders are rare in childhood. But when they do occur, those afflicted generally have more severe symptoms and a worse prognosis than those who Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 2:17 PM | Comments (1)


September 25, 2007

New Studies Guide Treatment Recommendations for Bipolar Disorder

Two new studies provide information on best practices for treating people with bipolar disorder. The two studies are part of the NIMH-funded Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD). Both were published in the September 2007 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry. Antidepressants provide no added benefit for people with mixed symptoms, and may worsen existing mania Among STEP-BD participants who experienced manic symptoms while also in the midst of a depressive episode, those who received antidepressant medication along with a mood stabilizer recovered no faster than those who received a mood stabilizer plus placebo (sugar pill). The Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 11:14 AM | Comments (7)


August 22, 2007

Risperdal Approved by FDA for Treatment of Bipolar Disorder In Children and Teens

A few months ago we featured a news story that Risperdal was in the process of being approved by the FDA for use in children and adolescents for treatment of Bipolar Disorder. Many psychiatrists already prescribe the drug to children and teens, but now the FDA has approved its safety and use based on further research. Now that its officially approved, the research that lead to the approval may have strengthened the efficacy and safety of Risperdal's use in children and teens. Until now, physicians have not had a lot of guidance in prescribing the drug to these younger populations. Read more...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 10:47 AM | Comments (9)


August 7, 2007

Sleep Disorder Medication Studied as Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

A new study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, and in the August issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry is looking at the possible success of a sleep disorder medication to treat bipolar disorder. This study is only preliminary with 85 participants, but they have already found that it might be successful in controlling the depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder. Mark Frye, author of the study, states that this is groundbreaking because currently there aren't many options for treating the depressive symptoms associated with bipolar disorder. "Mood stabilizers in general are better at treating mania than depression, but the depressive Read more...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 12:10 PM | Comments (2)


July 9, 2007

Early Stage of New Bipolar Drug Production Shows Promise

Bipolar Disorder is currently treated with mood stabilizing drugs such as Lithium or Valproic Acid (Depakote). Some people have reported side effects with these medications, and when bipolar patients are prescribed an antipsychotic, side effects may be added. The development of a new drug that works as well as the current ones, but without the debilitating or uncomfortable side effects, may revolutionize quality of life for those living with bipolar disorder. Read more...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 12:17 PM | Comments (6)


June 22, 2007

Johnson & Johnson Press Release regarding Risperdal for Children and Adolescents with Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia

Though Psychiatrists have been prescribing Risperdal to children and adolescents for a variety of symptoms and disorders, the FDA has not yet approved of its use with these age groups for treatment of Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia. Recently Johnsons & Johnson released information that FDA approval is the process, and will soon be finalized. Read more...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 4:21 PM | Comments (0)


May 14, 2007

Bipolar Disorder Medication Options

The psychiatrist at the blog "corpus callosum" writes about different bipolar disorder medication options that are covered in Medscape this month. Interesting reading - and commentary following the discussion. Medscape requires free registration for access to the articles. Read the article: Bipolar Disorder Medications Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 10:26 AM | Comments (1)


December 17, 2006

Health Insurance Company Offering First Ever Bipolar Disease Management Program

Aetna Behavioral Health, a leading diversified health care benefits companies, introduces the industry first Bipolar Disease Management Program. This voluntary program plans to better treat clients suffering with bipolar disorder by giving information and care management; all in hopes of increasing medication and treatment adherence, and in turn reducing relapse. Read more...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 11:43 AM | Comments (13)


October 25, 2006

FDA approves Seroquel for bipolar depression

Seroquel, (manufactured by AstraZeneca) which is already used to treat the manic phases of bipolar disorder, has recently been approved by the FDA for treatment of bipolar depression, making it the only drug approved for both indications. In an Astra Zeneca press release it quoted Patterson, executive director of development as saying "Treating acute bipolar disorder with a single medication may help patients adhere to their medication regimen," The FDA approval was based on results from studies where patients taking Seroquel showed an improvement in depressive symptoms starting at week one compared to those taking placebo, and this improvement continued Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 12:47 PM | Comments (8)


Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) act as mood stabilizers for bipolar II disorder

According to a report published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, "We have previously observed that prescription of some antidepressant class drugs (particularly the SSRIs) is associated with attenuation of the number, duration and severity of both high and low mood states in those with bipolar II disorder. We examined whether SSRIs are a mood stabilizer for bipolar II disorder. We report a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over study lasting nine months in a sample of 10 patients who had not had previous treatment with any antidepressant, antipsychotic, or mood stabilizer drug." "Treatment with the SSRI led to a significant Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 12:31 PM | Comments (0)


October 12, 2006

New Drug Being Tested For Treating Mania in Bipolar Patients

Memory Pharmaceuticals and The Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI) began phase 2a of testing their new drug MEM 1003. The drug is a calcium channel blocker and will be used to treat acute mania in those suffering from bipolar disorder. Read more...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 9:57 AM | Comments (3)


September 26, 2006

Australian Study Challenges Bipolar Disorder Treatment Conventions

An Australian research study has questioned the widespread practice of prescribing heavy duty anti-psychotic drugs to mild bipolar sufferers. A study by Sydney's Black Dog Institute has made the controversial finding that new generation anti-depressants are a more effective treatment for the less severe but most common form of the mood disorder. This is despite guidelines, in Australia and overseas, recommending doctors never prescribe the drugs - known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) - to people with the condition. Writing in the Journal of Affective Disorders, the researchers claim their work "potentially signals one of the most significant medical Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 12:25 PM | Comments (1)


April 7, 2006

Madness, medication and motherhood

Salon.com has a good article written by a woman who has bipolar disorder and is thinking of having children... "I want a child, but I am terrified of going off my meds -- and of birth defects. Do I dare trust this body to create another one?" "But for me, the question of how to be pregnant occurs simultaneously with the will I or won't I, the why and the whether. At the age of eighteen (around the same time the last batch of recently hatched Magicadas had gone underground to nourish themselves with the juice of trees), I was Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 10:57 PM | Comments (0)


January 13, 2006

Pharma company announces agreement to develop treatment for bipolar disorder

In a Press/Marketing release, Memory Pharmaceuticals Corp. announced that it has entered into an agreement with The Stanley Medical Research Institute to develop MEM 1003, the company's neuronal L-type calcium channel modulator, as a treatment for bipolar disorder. Under the terms of the agreement, Memory Pharmaceuticals is eligible to receive up to $3.2 million from SMRI to fund the clinical development of MEM 1003 and will use these funds to support a Phase IIa trial of MEM 1003 in acute mania in bipolar disorder, which is scheduled to commence in the first half of 2006. Memory Pharmaceuticals also is currently Read more...
Posted by at 12:12 PM | Comments (4)


October 20, 2005

Bipolar Disorder Information and Treatment Presentations

As we covered back in August this past summer, there was an excellent public education seminar held at Stanford University (California) that we reported on. Today we are making available on the Internet the presentations on bipolar disorder that were made that day. There were two presentations. Click on the links to get directly to the presentation: Differential Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia - This presentation talks about how in the older traditional mode of thinking psychiatrists used to describe these brain disorders as fixed categories. The thinking now is that the "boarders" to these disease classifications are now Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 2:47 PM | Comments (6)


September 14, 2005

Medicaid Preferred Drug List Expanding

The cuts to medicaid and the new and recent changes in its plan have been scary for many of those depending on a medication that was not going to be paid for by Medicaid. Medicaid has been developing a "preferred drug list" meaning that if your drug was not on the list, you would have to jump through several hoops to actually get it covered. Your clinician would have to show that they has attempted numerous other medications to help your ailment, but that only this one worked. This is especially difficult for those with a serious mental illness that Read more...
Posted by at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)


September 12, 2005

Sleep Deprivation Improves Antidepressant Response

Researchers in Turkey have been examining the effects of sertraline (Zoloft) monotherapy and sleep deprivation on patients quality of life, as well as their responsiveness to the medication. The participants were 24 individuals with major depressive disorder. Being that many people with bipolar disorder take SSRI's in addition to a mood stabilizer, this holds important meaning for them as well. Of course, a study done explicitly on those with bipolar disorder should be done before this can be concluded. "In all, 13 of the patients received sertraline plus 6 nights of partial sleep deprivation. During these nights, which together with Read more...
Posted by at 11:15 AM | Comments (5)


September 11, 2005

Continued Antidepressant Use Reduces Relapse

Researchers have found that continuing one's antidepressants even after symptoms have lessened reduces the chance of having a depressive relapse. The current general practice is to have patients stop taking their antidepressants after or within 6 months of their symptoms waning. Researchers at UC Los Angeles found that following such a practice can increase one's chance of relapsing by almost doubling it. Continuing antidepressants did not increase one's chance of having a manic relapse. "The team, led by Lori Altshuler, compared the risk of depressive relapse in 84 patients with bipolar disorder who had achieved remission with the addition of Read more...
Posted by at 1:52 PM | Comments (1)


September 5, 2005

FDA-Approved Office Lithium Test

The FDA has approved a lithium test that can be easily administered in a psychiatrists office within a matter of minutes. This quick and easy method will make it easier for clinicians to monitor levels of lithium in the blood of patients taking it for bipolar disorder. Lithium levels must be monitored due to the fact that the amount needed to be effective is just below toxicity level. Their therapeutic range is between 0.4 mEq/L and 1.4 mEq/L. The testing system is said to be similar to the glucose level tests used for diabetic patients. The office test has been Read more...
Posted by at 12:31 PM | Comments (0)


August 29, 2005

Treatment Considerations in Reproductive Health

Having children while on any form of medication is something that many women try to avoid. But some medications are more necessary than others, for example the medications used to treat bipolar disorder. One study looked at the effects that pregnancy and hormonal treatments had on women suffering from bipolar disorder. The issues looked at were "teratogenicity [things that cause/ relate to developmental malformations], breastfeeding, polycystic ovarian syndrome, weight gain and obesity, and medication interactions with oral contraceptives." Postpartum depression is a significant risk in women with bipolar disorder and they are at heightened risk to have mood episodes during Read more...
Posted by at 12:56 PM | Comments (1)


August 25, 2005

Depression Survey: People Often Don't Adhere to Treatment

Findings Highlight Importance of Physician/Patient Communication in depression (and similar issues are common with bipolar disorder) Results of a new national survey reveal a disparity between what people with depression say they know about their illness and how they manage it. Although 91 percent of those surveyed say it is very important to take their antidepressant medication exactly as prescribed, at some point approximately 40 percent stopped taking their medication without the advice of their health care professional because they personally believed they were no longer experiencing symptoms of depression. These insights come from an online survey of 1,086 people Read more...
Posted by at 2:10 PM | Comments (1)


August 19, 2005

Acute Bipolar Mania Shows Improvement w/ Geodon

Geodon Improved Symptoms Within Two Days, Was Well Tolerated - The following information looks like it comes (either directly, or indirectly) from Pfizer's marketing department - so, as with any marketing material from any company, we think you should be skeptical of the information. It looks interesting, but all company marketing departments tend to highlight the positive points of their products, while avoiding mention of any possible negative aspects, and pharmaceutical companies are no different in this respect. The most reliable information is generally from independent sources (with no monetary ties to the medication), such as NIMH (National Institute of Read more...
Posted by at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)


August 15, 2005

Antipsychotics & The Risk of Insulin Resistance and Dyslipidemia

Second generation antipsychotics (SGA's) have been studied thoroughly in regard to many health risks. The metabolic effects of SGA's which are also known as atypical antipsychotics, were looked at in this study which was found in the Psychiatric Times. The researchers had three treatment conditions "antipsychotic-naive, pretreated but currently drug free and switchers", and six different atypical antipsychotics. The six medications used were: Abilify, Clozaril, Zyprexa, Seroquel, Risperdal, and Geodon. The study was not randomized, but it has the benefit of being the largest study done on "naive individuals taking novel antipsychotics". This study also looked at the effects that Read more...
Posted by at 1:06 PM | Comments (0)


July 10, 2005

FDA Warns of Antipsychotic Use For Elderly

The FDA issued a warning recently to the elderly who are using antipsychotic medication. It appears that those who were taking an antipsychotic for dementia had a higher mortality rate than those taking a placebo in studies that have been done. When the antipsychotics were used to treat the elderly for disorders such as schizophrenia or mania there were similar results; a higher death rate for the elderly using an antipsychotic. "FDA wants the manufacturers of the drugs in questions to add a boxed warning to the drugs' labels describing this risk and noting that these drugs are not approved Read more...
Posted by at 1:45 PM | Comments (0)


July 9, 2005

Valproic Acid Has Bad Interaction With Meropenem

Valproic acid, more commonly known as Depakote or Depakene, has been shown to have negative drug interactions with Meropenem, (Merrem). Valproic acid is normally used as either a monotherapy or combined with another drug to treat those with bipolar disorder. When used with Meropenem it can cause a loss of seizure control and sometimes "lower the concentration of Valproic acid". Meropenem is an antibiotic which is commonly used to treat meningitis or "intra-abdominal infections." One patient (a 21-year-old female) was looked at who had an adverse reaction when using the two drugs. This case study gives insight into the negative Read more...
Posted by at 2:13 PM | Comments (0)


July 5, 2005

Antidepressants for bipolar depression

Antidepressants for bipolar depression: Tips to stay out of trouble There is a good article on Current Psychiatry Online that talks about bipolar depression and treatment issues with antidepressants. The article is written for doctors, but most people can probably follow it. The story states: "In clinical practice, 50% to 80% of bipolar patients receive long-term antidepressants,1 although potential benefits probably outweigh risks in 20% to 40%. This gap suggests that psychiatrists could do more to stay out of trouble when prescribing antidepressants for patients with bipolar depression. Antidepressants have not shown efficacy in long-term treatment, and evidence of their Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 10:58 PM | Comments (1)


Topiramate: Reducing Cognitive Side Effects

As with any medication topiramate comes with a host of side effects that are sometimes difficult for the user to deal with. Topiramate is an anticonvulsant medication that has been cited by some to lead to cognitive impairment which does not make it attractive to some who would like to use it. "The precise mechanism of cognitive impairment is not yet fully understood; however, preclinical evidence links them to their action on GABA potentiation and glutamate receptor antagonism at the N- methyl-Daspartate (NMDA) receptors the potentiating action of this medication at the level of the neurotransmission system of GABA, a Read more...
Posted by at 2:54 PM | Comments (0)


Eli Lilly Proposes New Strategy

The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly has planned a new strategy for the development of future drugs. Many complain that drug companies spend less time searching for new drugs and more time making sure that they are overmarketed and overprescribed. Critics also complain that drug companies try to play-down side effects in order for their drugs to seem more attractive to the consumer. Recently, the chief executive of Eli Lilly--Sidney Taurel--delivered a speech to shareholders in which he stated "'the right dose of the right drug to the right patient at the right time.'' In other words, Lilly sees its future Read more...
Posted by at 12:34 PM | Comments (1)


July 3, 2005

Review of Meds Available for Bipolar Disorder

There are so many medications available to treat bipolar disorder that sometimes the idea of choosing your form of treatment can be daunting. Not only are there several medications, but each medication is under a different class. There are antipsychotics, anticonvulsants, SSRI's, benzodiazepines, and much more. This article is meant to be a quick review of the many kinds of medications available. The nice thing about it is that it is quick and easy to review. It does not go over side effects very extensively so make sure you research the medication and its "class" before determining that it is Read more...
Posted by at 3:00 PM | Comments (0)


July 2, 2005

FDA Safety Labeling Changes

The FDA has approved revisions to the labeling on three drugs, Ellence, Abilify, and Kaletra. Each of the three drugs is associated with an increased risk of certain conditions. Ellence is linked with a "cumulative risk" of leukemia. "Secondary AML with or without a preleukemic phase has been reported in patients treated with anthracyclines and is more common after dose escalations, heavy pretreatment with cytotoxic agents, or when they are used in combination with DNA-damaging antineoplastic agents. The leukemias can have a short one- to three-year latency period" (Waknine). Abilify is associated with an increased risk of stroke in elderly Read more...
Posted by at 2:35 PM | Comments (0)


Slower Titration of Lamotrigine Reduces Risk of Rash

Those taking lamotrigine for bipolar disorder sometimes get a rash as one of the side effects from taking the drug. But getting the rash can potentially be avoided if the drug is administered in small amounts and increased gradually. The research study attempted to prevent rashes on the 100 patients with bipolar disorder upon their initiation of lamotrigine. "Treatment with lamotrigine was not started within 2 weeks of a rash, viral syndrome, or vaccination. The medication was titrated more gradually than is recommended in the prescribing information. Subjects not taking enzyme inducers or inhibitors were started at 25 mg/d for Read more...
Posted by at 1:54 PM | Comments (0)


July 1, 2005

FDA Warns Of Suicide Risks

The FDA recently posted a new warning on their website of the link between suicidal tendencies and adult usage of antidepressant medication. The FDA cited numerous publications that highlight the risk of suicide when taking antidepressant medication. The FDA also posted information on a specific drug that may potentially have a link to increased suicidal tendencies. According to Mathews and Tesoriero (2005), "the FDA also last night posted information about patients who displayed suicidal tendencies during trials of one antidepressant, Eli Lilly & Co.'s Cymbalta, being tested for stress-related urinary incontinence. The site says a "higher-than-expected rate of suicide attempts Read more...
Posted by at 1:40 PM | Comments (1)


June 29, 2005

Medicaid Restrictions Blamed Elsewhere

Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida has recieved a lot of criticism as of late for putting restrictions on Medicaid drug limits. Bush blames Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company for refusing to negotiate for fairer prices with Florida. "Florida's efforts to cut the $2.5 billion Medicaid prescription-drug budget comes in a new law that gives health officials authority to negotiate for lower prices. The law gives them the power to drop drugs from the state's approved list of medications for the 2.2 million Medicaid patients if prices aren't lowered. A list of state-approved drugs for the Medicaid program, replacing the current list Read more...
Posted by at 12:06 PM | Comments (0)


June 28, 2005

Seroquel Effective at Treating Bipolar Disorder

New information on Seroquel was presented at the annual American Psychiatric Association meeting in San Francisco that show it is effective at treating mania in those with bipolar disorder. Seroquel is more commonly used to treat schizophrenia. The following information looks like it comes (either directly, or indirectly) from AstraZeneca's marketing department - so, as with any marketing material from any company, we think you should be skeptical of the information. It looks interesting, but all company marketing departments tend to highlight the positive points of their products, while avoiding mention of any possible negative aspects, and pharmaceutical companies are Read more...
Posted by at 12:19 PM | Comments (1)


Beyond Lithium for Bipolar Disorder

Beyond Lithium For Bipolar Disorder While lithium treatment has proven to be a godsend for many of the two million Americans with bipolar disorder, it is not without its downside. People on the drug may develop hypothyroidism, tremors, cognitive impairment, and excessive thirst and urination and gain weight. However, better treatments for bipolar disorder depend on a better understanding of the still-mysterious mechanism by which lithium damps the highs and lows of the disorder. Now, researchers led by Philip Brandish of Merck & Co., Inc., and Edward Scolnick of the Broad Institute (formerly of Merck and Co., Inc.) have identified Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 11:33 AM | Comments (6)


Integrated Treatment, Childhood Bipolar Disorder

Multi-Modal Integrated Treatment for Youth With Bipolar Disorder By Mani N. Pavuluri, M.D., Ph.D., and Michael W. Naylor, M.D. Psychiatric Times May 2005 Vol. XXII Issue 6 Given the hectic pace of clinical practice, it is difficult to keep up with the research on pediatric bipolar disorder (PBD). This is particularly true in the area of pharmacological management. An effective, evidence-based algorithm for the pharmacological treatment of PBD will offer support for clinical decision making. For example, a single mood stabilizer has been shown to be ineffective in more than 50% of cases (DelBello et al., 2002; Kafantaris et al., Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)


Levothyroxine Improves Mood

High doses of levothyroxine has been found to improve mood in those with bipolar disorder. Levothyroxine is marketed as levoxyl. The study looked at the effects on brain function that are associated with mood alteration. Subjects were administered a high dose of levothyroxine while using their ongoing medication, such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers. "The researchers said that 'before L-T-4 treatment, the patients exhibited significantly higher activity in the right subgenual cingulate cortex, left thalamus, medial temporal lobe (right amygdala, right hippocampus), right ventral striatum, and cerebellar vermis; and had lower relative activity in the middle frontal gyri bilaterally.' 'Significant Read more...
Posted by at 10:47 AM | Comments (1)


June 24, 2005

Medicaid Restricts Drug Limits

Starting July 1st the number of prescriptions allowed for those using Medicaid will be reduced. There will be a 2 prescription limit on brand name drugs a month, and only 5 drugs a month will be allowed. Prior to this policy 7 prescriptions were allowed on a month to month basis. Many people are asking that lawmakers allow an exception for those who have a mental disorder and for those who have HIV or AIDS. Many people are unsure of what they will do in the coming month because their current prescription needs surpass what will now be allowed by Read more...
Posted by at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)


June 23, 2005

Medicaid Patients' Depression Not Effectively Treated

According to a recent survey, Medicaid patients' depression is not being effectively treated. Medicaid patients were less likely than patients' with private insurance to be treated by practice guidelines. The guidelines are made so that patients' with depression and other mental disorders get the necessary alleviation from their symptoms. More than 85 percent of both privately insured and Medicaid patients with depression are not being effectively treated, as defined by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), according to new data presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. While both sets of patients were receiving inadequate treatment Read more...
Posted by at 8:15 PM | Comments (3)


June 22, 2005

Antipsychotic Linked to Tumors

Risperidone is an antipsychotic used to treat bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other psychological disorders. Unfortunately, researchers have been finding some (relatively minor, in the grand scheme of things) health results. It appears that Risperidone is linked to a higher rate of benign tumors (benign in this case, means insigificant from a health standpoint) in the pituitary gland and other health problems, in comparison to others taking similar drugs. It appears to be an uncommon occurrence but the side effects still need to be validated by other research studies. Many of those who grew tumors while taking Risperidone were taking other Read more...
Posted by at 11:35 PM | Comments (0)


Lithium & Anticonvulsants Useful

Lithium and anticonvulsants lamotrigine and valproate semisodium have been proven to be effective in providing long term treatment to those with bipolar disorder. "'Bipolar disorder is an illness in which sufferers may have over a dozen episodes in their life, so one object of long-term treatment is to prevent relapse,' presenter Dr. Allan H. Young told Reuters Health. However, 'no single drug seems to prevent manic and depressive episodes completely so we should now be testing combinations' like (the antipsychotic drug) olanzapine and lamotrigine or lithium and valproate, he added" (Reuters Health, 2005). "Compared with valproate sodium, those on lithium Read more...
Posted by at 6:44 PM | Comments (0)


June 20, 2005

Equetro can treat Bipolar I Disorder

The FDA has approved Equetro to treat patients who have acute manic and mixed episodes that result from Bipolar I disorder. "In a pooled analysis of placebo-controlled studies, patients taking EQUETRO who had been previously taking valproate or lithium (both with or without improvement of their symptoms) showed significant reduction in manic symptoms based on a standard measure of Young Mania Rating Scale" (Science Letter, 2005). Equetro is a carbamazepine extended-release capsule. Hopefully this will have the same effect on those in the community with bipolar disorder as it did in the controlled study. "Specifically, patients previously taking valproate had Read more...
Posted by at 10:14 PM | Comments (1)


Improvement with Olanzapine and Fluoxetine

A new study has come out comparing the effectiveness of olanzapine and fluoxetine HCL capsules (OFC) to lamotrigine for the treatment of bipolar depression. It appears that patients who took OFC experienced greater relief from the depressive and manic symptoms associated with bipolar disorder. Those taking OFC also responded faster to therapy than those who were taking lamotrigine. "Lamotrigine is not indicated for the acute treatment of bipolar depression; rather, it is indicated for the maintenance of bipolar I disorder to delay the time to occurrence of mood episode (depression, mania, hypomania, mixed episodes) in patients treated for acute mood Read more...
Posted by at 8:59 PM | Comments (0)


June 19, 2005

Lithium Lowers Suicide Rate

Lithium has long been used to treat those with bipolar disorder, especially when they are suffering from severe manic episodes. Recent studies have indicated that a higher than thought percentage of the US population suffers from this sometimes debilitating disorder. But since the discovery of lithium and its beneficial affects on bipolar patients, new drugs have entered the pharmaceutical market. Lithium used to be almost the only thing used to help bipolar patients, but now there are plenty of other medications to choose from. "Compared to major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder has a significantly greater impact on an individual's ability Read more...
Posted by at 10:50 PM | Comments (2)


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 Read more...
Posted by at 9:58 PM | Comments (4)


June 14, 2005

Bipolar I Disorder Treated with Albilify

Bipolar I disorder now has a new medication that can be used to treat it. Although the medication itself is not new, its use for Bipolar I disorder specifically is. "Less than six months after approving Abilify tablets and oral solution to treat acute bipolar mania, FDA approved an additional indication for the drug March 1 to treat bipolar I disorder patients with a recent manic or mixed episode who have stabilized for at least six weeks. The product is jointly marketed by Bristol-Meyers Squibb Co. and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co.(otsuka.co.jp). Comprising aripiprazole, Abilify is indicated for the treatment of schizophrenia, Read more...
Posted by at 9:32 PM | Comments (5)


May 2, 2005

Lithium vs Depakote in child bipolar

Lithium Vs. Depakote for Long-term Maintenance treatment in Pediatric Bipolar Disorder This study purports to be the first to look at maintenance treatments in pediatric bipolar disorder in a double-blind, randomized and controlled fashion. It is difficult to do clinical trials in children for many reasons. First, it is costly to do clinical trials and once drugs are approved, they can be used "off-label" (meaning without FDA approval) in children as long as there isn't evidence that they are unsafe in children. Also, it can be difficult to do experiments on children because of parental concerns and concerns over possible Read more...
Posted by at 7:40 PM | Comments (2)


April 27, 2005

Abilify Approved for Bipolar Type 1

Bristol-Myers Squibb has announced that Aripiprazole (Abilify) tablets and oral solution, an antipsychotic indicated for the treatment of schizophrenia, acute mania and mixed episodes associated with bipolar disorder, has been approved for use in patients with Bipolar I Disorder with a recent manic or mixed episode who have been stabilized and maintained for at least 6 weeks. This most recent approval is based on the positive results of a randomized, placebo-controlled study in 161 patients, in which those treated with aripiprazole relapsed significantly later than placebo-treated patients. Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 4:30 PM | Comments (2)


April 24, 2005

Risperdal for Bipolar Disorder 1

From a Marketing Release from Janssen Pharmaceuticals: RISPERDAL® (risperidone) has now been approved as monotherapy in Canada for the acute management of manic episodes associated with bipolar I disorder. People with bipolar disorder may experience extreme changes of mood, swinging from deep depression to acute mania – excessive excitement, hyperactivity and sometimes, delusions and hallucinations. These manic episodes can lead to dangerous risk-taking behaviour. According to an American study, nearly 40 percent of people with untreated bipolar mania abuse alcohol and drugs.2 Job loss, divorce and even suicide are common consequences of the illness.2,3,4 "Manic symptoms can be difficult to Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 6:49 PM | Comments (6)


April 21, 2005

Slimy Drugs for Bipolar

A blog called "SciScoop" has an interesting entry on some new approaches that companies are taking towards drug discovery for bipolar disorder: "UK scientists are digging around in slime moulds in the hope of finding novel drugs for treating "manic depression", more properly known as bipolar disorder. They have developed a new screening technique using the "slime mould" - a microbe that lives in leaves and dung on forest floors. Their breakthrough in using one particular slime mould species, Dictyostelium represents the first possible alternative to the current, accidental discovery, approach to drugs for this disorder. The team reports details Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 12:14 AM | Comments (1)


April 18, 2005

Detecting Bipolar Genes

DNA microarrays used to detect Bipolar Genes While lithium treatment has proven to be a godsend for many of the two million Americans with bipolar disorder, it is not without its downside. People on the drug may develop hypothyroidism, tremors, cognitive impairment, and excessive thirst and urination and gain weight. However, better treatments for bipolar disorder depend on a better understanding of the still-mysterious mechanism by which lithium damps the highs and lows of the disorder. Now, researchers led by Philip Brandish of Merck & Co., Inc., and Edward Scolnick of the Broad Institute (formerly of Merck and Co., Inc.) Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 6:43 AM | Comments (1)


March 30, 2005

Genes affected by Lithium

A recent study identifies the genes that may be activated by lithium. While lithium treatment has proven effective for treating bipolar disorder (BPD), the drug is also associated with hypothyroidism, tremors, cognitive impairment, excessive thirst and urination and weight gain. Researchers led by Philip Brandish of Merck & Co and Edward Scolnick of the Broad Institute (formerly of Merck) have identified genes that appear to be activated by lithium, suggesting more direct targets for drugs to treat the disorder, with fewer side effects. The studies were published in the 24th March issue of Neuron (2005;45:861-872). Lithium is known to inhibit Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 11:11 PM | Comments (0)


March 15, 2005

Repligen and Bipolar Disorder

Repligen Corporation (NASDAQ: RGEN) today announced that the Company has entered into a development agreement with the Stanley Medical Research Institute under which Repligen will receive funding for a Phase 1 clinical trial to assess the oral bioavailability of Repligen's proprietary formulation of uridine. This Phase 1 study is expected to enroll patients next quarter and follows Repligen's preliminary findings in animal models and patients that uridine may be useful in treating the depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder. The Stanley Medical Research Institute is the largest nonprofit provider of funding for research on schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in the United Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 6:13 PM | Comments (4)


Bipolar Disorder and Anti-depressants

A recent Q&A response highlights the risk that people with bipolar take if they use anti-depressants without first being stabilized. "Some people with bipolar illness are particularly sensitive to antidepressants and may respond with mania or rapid cycling (switching quickly from depression to mania and back again), advises bipolar expert Dr. John Nurnberger, director of the Indiana University Institute of Psychiatric Research." For the full story see: Saturday Evening Post: On Antidepressants and Bipolar Illness Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 12:10 AM | Comments (0)


March 14, 2005

Child Bipolar Disorder Therapies

Effective therapies for bipolar children sought By Jim Dryden March 14, 2005 — Child psychiatry researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are investigating the effectiveness of several therapies for children with bipolar disorder, also known as manic depressive illness. The study, called TEAM (Treatment of Early Age Mania), builds on previous research that showed bipolar disorder can occur in children as young as 7. During the manic phase of the illness, children may experience an inflated sense of power and self esteem and inappropriately behave as if they are in charge at home or school. They Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 6:55 AM | Comments (0)


October 15, 2004

FDA Warning - Child Anti-Depressant Use

Today it was announced by the Food and Drug Administration that all antidepressants must carry a "black box" warning, the government's strongest safety alert, linking the drugs to increased suicidal thoughts and behavior among children and teens taking them. Because the warnings are primarily seen by doctors, the agency also is creating an information guide for patients to advise them of the risk. "Today's actions represent FDA's conclusions about the increased risk of suicidal thoughts and the necessary actions for physicians prescribing these antidepressant drugs and for the children and adolescents taking them," said Dr. Lester Crawford, acting FDA commissioner. Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 7:01 PM | Comments (0)


September 28, 2004

Seroquel - More data for Bipolar Disorder

UK pharmaceutical manufacturer AstraZeneca has released another set of data demonstrating the benefits of using its drug Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate) for the treatment of bipolar disorder, according to Reuters. Seroquel is primarily indicated for the treatment of schizophrenia, but has shown an ability to provide relief from symptoms of rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, a form of the central nervous system (CNS) disease that affects around one in five bipolar disorder patients. Seroquel was found to relieve depressive symptoms among patients over an eight-week period, with significant improvements recorded after the first week of treatment when compared to placebo use. Many drug Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 9:15 PM | Comments (6)


August 27, 2004

Polypharmacy (multi-drug treatments) for Bipolar

Last week The Wall Street Journal examined "polypharmacy," a treatment for patients with depression and other brain disorders that involves customized "drug cocktails" of multiple medicines. With "polypharmacy", patients who do not respond to one medication alone take several treatments that target different brain chemicals or the same parts of the brain with drugs that act slightly differently. Physicians "arrive at the right mix by tinkering with a sequence of different drugs based on past experiences, word of mouth and drug company marketing," the Journal reports. Polypharmacy, "driven in part by the shortcomings of many available medications," is "psychiatry's answer Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 2:42 AM | Comments (2)


Pfizer gets approval for Geodon in Bipolar Mania treatment

Pfizer said on Monday (August 23rd) that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its antipsychotic drug Geodon for the treatment of acute bipolar mania. Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 1:58 AM | Comments (17)


Seroquel Approved for Bipolar Mania

AstraZeneca (AZN) announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved additional efficacy labeling information based on 12-week data for Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate), a psychotropic medication indicated for the treatment of acute manic episodes associated with bipolar I disorder. The data, part of the large scale effort to examine the use of Seroquel in bipolar disorder, showed that after 12 weeks, approximately two thirds of patients receiving Seroquel achieved remission. Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 12:52 AM | Comments (0)