Outcome studies of bipolar disorder, the majority of which were conducted before the use of lithium, divalproex, and carbamazepine, generally found that only 50 to 60% of patients achieved good recovery 6 to 12 months after a manic episode. Over the past decade, a number of new pharmacologic studies have provided further information regarding the acute and long-term outcome of patients with bipolar disorder treated with these medications. In addition, better operational criteria to define outcome have been advanced, allowing for easier extrapolation of the results of clinical trials to clinical practice. We review the outcome of studies of lithium, divalproex, and carbamazepine in the acute treatment of episodes of mania and bipolar depression and in the maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder and the implications of these studies to clinical practice.
The authors and I are pleased to be able to present this collection of articles on key issues in the diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder. The authors and I gathered in Chicago for a 2-day meeting in July 1995 during which we discussed and debated the topics covered in this supplement. These articles, based on those discussions, have undergone extensive review and revision so that the most informative and current material as possible could be provided.
We would like to thank Abbott Laboratories for their generous support of this supplement.
The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, the editors, or the sponsor.
Biological Psychiatry Program, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio