National Alliance on Mental Illness
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NIMH Study on Bipolar Disorder
March 30, 2007
On March 29, the New England Journal of Medicine published results from a study sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) on treatment of bipolar disorder, finding that for depressed people who are taking a mood stabilizer, adding an antidepressants is no more effective than a placebo (sugar pill).
The results are part of a large NIMH study, the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD). The next installment will address the psychosocial elements of treatment and is expected soon. NAMI is reviewing the first set and anticipates offering
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reports that the lead author of the study, Dr. Gary Sachs, director of the bipolar clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital, advises consumers with bipolar disorder who currently are doing well on antidepressants that they need not quit taking them. (Changes in medication in any case should only occur in consultation with a person’s doctor).
In an editorial also published in the NEJM, Dr. Robert H. Belmaker of
Read the NIMH press release
Read the Los Angeles Times story (sign in or free registration may be required)
Read an Editorial from the New England Journal of Medicine