One Drug Treats Both Sides of Bipolar Disorder
THURSDAY, May 6, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- For the first time, doctors have found a single drug that can treat both the manic and depressive phases of bipolar disorder.

The antipsychotic medication Seroquel currently is approved for short-term treatment of acute manic episodes. But findings presented May 5 at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in New York City show it also is effective in treating depressive episodes.

The study involved a randomized trial of 542 patients with bipolar depression at 39 sites in the United States.

"There was a dramatic response within eight days of beginning treatment in patients who were symptomatic with bipolar depression," principal researcher Dr. Joseph R. Calabrese, director of the National Institute of Mental Health Bipolar Research Center, said in a prepared statement.

"About 50 percent of patients responded quickly to treatment with Seroquel versus placebo, achieving remission from their symptoms, with the response lasting through the eighth and last week of the trial," Calabrese said. "Seroquel was also twice as effective as placebo in decreasing suicidal thoughts associated with acute bipolar depression."