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Treatment implications of predominant polarity and the polarity index: a comprehensive review.

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journal contribution
posted on 2014-01-01, 00:00 authored by A F Carvalho, J Quevedo, R S McIntyre, M G Soeiro-de-Souza, K N Fountoulakis, Michael BerkMichael Berk, T N Hyphantis, E Vieta
BACKGROUND: Bipolar disorder (BD) is a serious and recurring condition that affects approximately 2.4% of the global population. About half of BD sufferers have an illness course characterized by either a manic or a depressive predominance. This predominant polarity in BD may be differentially associated with several clinical correlates. The concept of a polarity index (PI) has been recently proposed as an index of the antimanic versus antidepressive efficacy of various maintenance treatments for BD. Notwithstanding its potential clinical utility, predominant polarity was not included in the DSM-5 as a BD course specifier. METHODS: Here we searched computerized databases for original clinical studies on the role of predominant polarity for selection of and response to pharmacological treatments for BD. Furthermore, we systematically searched the Pubmed database for maintenance randomized controlled trials (RCTs) for BD to determine the PI of the various pharmacological agents for BD. RESULTS: We found support from naturalistic studies that bipolar patients with a predominantly depressive polarity are more likely to be treated with an antidepressive stabilization package, while BD patients with a manic-predominant polarity are more frequently treated with an antimanic stabilization package. Furthermore, predominantly manic BD patients received therapeutic regimens with a higher mean PI. The calculated PI varied from 0.4 (for lamotrigine) to 12.1 (for aripiprazole). CONCLUSIONS: This review supports the clinical relevance of predominant polarity as a course specifier for BD. Future studies should investigate the role of baseline, predominant polarity as an outcome predictor of BD maintenance RCTs.



International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology






Oxford University Press (OUP)









Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2014, Oxford University Press (OUP)