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Randomized, placebo-controlled trial of risperidone for acute treatment of bipolar anxiety.

Author(s): Sheehan DV, McElroy SL, Harnett-Sheehan K, Keck PE Jr, Janavs J, Rogers J, Gonzalez R, Shivakumar G, Suppes T

Affiliation(s): University of South Florida College of Medicine, United States. dsheehan@health.usf.edu

Publication date & source: 2009-06, J Affect Disord., 115(3):376-85. Epub 2008 Nov 29.

Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

BACKGROUND: The treatment of bipolar disorder is often complicated by the presence of a co-occuring anxiety disorder. Although second generation antipsychotics are being used with increasing frequency in bipolar patients, their anxiolytic effects have not been well studied in this population. METHODS: The anxiolytic effect of risperidone 0.5-4 mg/day was tested in an 8-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial in 111 patients with bipolar disorder and a co-occuring panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The primary outcome measure was the Clinician Global Improvement-21 Anxiety scale (CGI-21 Anxiety). Secondary measures included the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A) and the Sheehan Panic Disorder Scale. RESULTS: On the last-observation-carried forward analysis of repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA), risperidone was not more effective than placebo for the CGI-21 Anxiety score or the other anxiety outcome measures. Risperidone was well tolerated, with only two patients withdrawing because of adverse events. LIMITATIONS: The risperidone treated group had more patients with mixed states and lifetime panic disorder at randomization than the placebo group. The study was limited to 8 weeks and to individuals with bipolar and comorbid panic disorder or GAD. The results may not be applicable to risperidone as an add-on treatment to mood stabilizers, or to bipolar disorder comorbid with anxiety disorders other than panic disorder or GAD. CONCLUSIONS: Risperidone monotherapy was not an effective anxiolytic for bipolar patients with comorbid panic disorder or GAD in doses of 0.5-4 mg/day over 8 weeks of treatment. The efficacy of other second generation antipsychotics and mood stabilizers on anxiety in patients with bipolar disorder and a co-occuring anxiety disorder should be investigated in double-blind, placebo-controlled studies.

Page last updated: 2009-10-20

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