J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc.  2018 Nov;57(4):287-300. 10.4306/jknpa.2018.57.4.287.

Pharmacological Treatment Strategies for Acute Bipolar Depression

  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Institute of Behavioral Science in Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. kimsejoo@yuhs.ac


Of the different phases of bipolar disorder, bipolar depression is more prevailing and is more difficult to treat. However, there is a deficit in systemic research on the pharmacological treatment of acute bipolar depression. Therefore, consensuses on the pharmacological treatment strategies of acute bipolar depression has yet to be made. Currently, there are only three drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration for acute bipolar depression : quetiapine, olanzapine-fluoxetine complex, and lurasidone. In clinical practice, other drugs such as mood stabilizers (lamotrigine, lithium, valproate) and/or the other atypical antipsychotics (aripiprazole, risperidone, ziprasidone) are frequently prescribed. There remains controversy on the use of antidepressants in bipolar depression. Here, we summarized the evidence of current pharmacological treatment options and reviewed treatment guidelines of acute bipolar depression from recently published studies.


Acute bipolar depression; Treatment guideline; Atypical antipsychotics; Mood stabilizers; Antidepressants
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