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New Treatment Choice for People with Manic Depression

  [ 651 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • May 21, 2003

Alderley Park, UK – Important developments in the treatment of manic depression were presented for the first time today at the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) annual meeting, the largest psychiatric congress in the world, which indicate that Seroquel (quetiapine) is an effective, well tolerated and fast-acting treatment for the manic symptoms of manic depression.(1)

Quetiapine, a new generation antipsychotic manufactured by AstraZeneca, is currently prescribed by psychiatrists to treat schizophrenia. Today's findings indicate that when prescribed on its own, quetiapine (monotherapy) can also be an effective treatment for the millions of people worldwide who have manic depression. The results, based on trial data from more than 400 patients, found quetipaine to be statistically more effective at treating the manic symptoms of manic depression than placebo, fast-acting as symptom improvements were evident from day four and well tolerated by patients.

Manic depression, also known as bipolar disorder, is a serious mental illness that affects approximately 3-4% of the adult population and is the sixth leading cause of disability in the world. (2,3,4,5) One of the issues faced by psychiatrists treating this condition is the problems associated with treatment compliance due to tolerability issues with some treatments. More than half of those with bipolar disorder stop taking their medication at some point during their lives, subjecting themselves to a high risk of relapse and an increased risk of suicide.(6)

"The results of these studies are an exciting development in the psychiatry field. The patients on quetiapine in these trials responded extremely well, not only was the improvement in their condition significant but it was also rapid" commented Dr. Eduard Vieta, Director of Research, Department of Psychiatry, University of Barcelona. "Effectively controlling this condition can be problematic as the occurrence of side effects, such as movement disorders, weight gain and sexual dysfunction, caused by some medications may lead to patients discontinuing their medication.

Patients with bipolar disorder can now look forward to receiving a treatment that not only controls their symptoms but does not create compliance issues due to side effects. Therefore, on the basis of today's results, psychiatrists will now be able to consider quetiapine as a first-line treatment for this condition."

The results presented today were from two clinical trials undertaken as part of a large comprehensive trial programme involving almost 1,000 patients in 28 countries which studied the efficacy, tolerability and safety of quetiapine in bipolar disorder as monotherapy and as adjunctive therapy with standard mood stabilising medication. The results of these studies were submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration and European regulatory body earlier this year to obtain a licence for use of Seroquel in bipolar disorder.

AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals and the supply of healthcare services. It is one of the top five pharmaceutical companies in the world with healthcare sales of over $17.8 billion and leading positions in sales of gastrointestinal, oncology, anaesthesia (including pain management), cardiovascular, central nervous system (CNS) and respiratory products. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Global and European) as well as the FTSE4Good Index.

In Neuroscience, AstraZeneca is dedicated to providing medicines that have the potential to change patients' lives. The company already markets several products including SEROQUEL®, one of the fastest growing global antipsychotics with proven efficacy and a very favourable side effect profile; and ZOMIG®, a reliable migraine therapy and a leader within the triptan market. The Neuroscience pipeline includes leading approaches for the treatment of depression and anxiety, overactive bladder, dementia and stroke, pain control and anaesthesia.

'Seroquel' is a trademark of AstraZeneca

YMRS (Young Mania Rating Scale) is an 11-item instrument used to assess the severity of mania.

This psychiatry resource features educational materials relating to severe mental illness, including background information on schizophrenia as well as epidemiological data and treatment issues clinicians face in everyday practice.


1. Jones MW, Huizar K, et al. Quetiapine monotherapy for mania associated with bipolar disorder. Poster presented at 156th American Psychiatric Association Congress, San Francisco, 2003.

2. American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000: p.385, 395.

3. Hirschfield et al. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 2003 (January); 64:53-59.

4. Lisd JD, Dime-Meenan S, Whybrow PC et al. The National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association (DMDA) survey of bipolar members. J Affect Disord, 1994, 31: 281 – 294.

5. World Health Organization and the World Bank. The Global Burden of Disease: Summary. Cambridge, Mass: The Harvard School of Public Health Harvard University Press, 1996.

6. Miklowitz D. The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide. New York: The Guilford Press, 2002.

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