A Pharmacologic Algorithm for Youth Who Are at High Risk for Bipolar Disorder.

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A Pharmacologic Algorithm for Youth Who Are at High Risk for Bipolar Disorder.

J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2017 Jul 21;:

Authors: Schneck CD, Chang KD, Singh MK, DelBello MP, Miklowitz DJ

OBJECTIVE: Depression and brief periods of manic symptoms are linked to a significant risk of progression to bipolar disorder (BD) in children who have a first-degree relative with BD I or II. However, little evidence exists to guide the pharmacologic management of children with these high-risk phenotypes. We propose a pharmacological treatment algorithm for high-risk youth and present results on its use in a study of children with a first-degree relative with BD.
METHODS: Subjects were 40 youth (mean 12.7 years, range 9-17 years) who had (1) a first-degree relative with lifetime history of BD I or II, (2) DSM-IV-TR diagnoses of BD not otherwise specified, major depressive disorder or cyclothymic disorder, and (3) active symptoms of depression, mania, or hypomania. Participants and their families were enrolled in a randomized trial examining the effects of two psychosocial interventions on the 1-year course of mood disorder. At study intake, participants received a psychiatric evaluation and were offered medications or had existing medications optimized to decrease symptom severity. During the 1-year study, psychiatrists treated participants using a medication algorithm to treat depressive or manic symptoms as well as comorbid anxiety and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
RESULTS: At study entry, 25 of 40 (62.5%) of the participants were taking at least one psychiatric medication. At 1 year, nearly an identical proportion were taking medications (22 of 35, 63%). Independent ratings indicated that in 84.7% of the study visits, physicians maintained adherence to the algorithm. No patients experienced antidepressant- or stimulant-induced mania during the study.
CONCLUSIONS: An algorithmic approach to pharmacologic interventions may aid in the management of youth (i.e., age <18) at high risk for BD. Future studies should compare outcomes in high-risk patients receiving algorithm-proscribed treatment versus those receiving treatment as usual.
CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION INFORMATION: Early Family-Focused Treatment for Youth at Risk for Bipolar Disorder; www.clinicaltrials.gov/ ; NCT00943085.

PMID: 28731778 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]