Korean J Psychopharmacol.  2002 Mar;13(1):37-46.

Trends in Pharmacotherapy of the Hospitalized Patients with Bipolar Disorder: A Twele-year Naturalistic Study

  • 1Department of Psychiatry & Institute for Neuroscience, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. kyooha@plaza.snu.ac.kr


The purpose of this study was to examine the pharmacological treatment patterns in inpatients with bipolar disorder at a university hospital, and to establish appropriate clinical practice guideline in light of recent advances of pharmacotherapy of bipolar disorder.
A total of 454 first-admission cases with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder from 1990 to 2001 were analyzed with regard to the clinical characteristics and the use of mood stabilizers, antidepressants and antipsychotics.
In manic, hypomanic, and mixed episodes, there has been a substantial increase in the use of valproate while the use of lithium has decreased. Antipsychotic drugs were prescribed as combination regimen in over 80% of total cases. In 44.6% of bipolar depression cases, mood stabilizers were not prescribed. In 70.7% of bipolar depression cases not receiving mood stabilizers, antidepressant monotherapy was utilized. The use of SSRIs and RIMA has increased, while a decrease was observed for TCA. There has been a tendency of the increased use of atypical antipsychotics. In particular, clozapine monotherapy has increased in mood stabilizer resistant cases.
The results of the present study suggest that the prescription patterns have changed in general agreement with recent advances of pharmacotherapy of bipolar disorder during the past twelve years. However, there was clear tendency to use antipsychotics rather than other mood stabilizers as the combination regimen. Moreover, accurate diagnosis and careful reconsideration for pharmacological treatment strategies are required in bipolar depression, mixed states, and rapid cycling.


Bipolar disorder; Pharmachotherapy; Mood stabilizer; Antidepressant; Antipsychotics; Naturalistic study
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