Schizophrenia Drug Receives FDA Approval for Bipolar Disorder Treatment
> 10/24/2006 11:01:52 AM

The FDA has given approval for AstraZeneca to market it's popular anti-psychotic medication Seroquel as a single pill treatment for bipolar disorder. Seroquel was previously prescribed for the acute manic episodes that often categorize bipolar disorder, but now the FDA has given the go ahead for the drug to be prescribed to treat both the manic as well as the depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder.

As the Associated Press reports, Seroquel was first introduced by AstraZeneca in 1997 and has become a prominent treatment for both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder's manic episodes. The FDA approval was based on new research, the AP reports:

The FDA decision to approve the new treatment in the United States was based on an eight-week study of 1,045 patients with bipolar depression.

Patients were randomly assigned to take Seroquel or a placebo containing no medicine. Those taking Seroquel showed greater improvement in bipolar depression symptoms, overall quality of life, and satisfaction related to functioning, the company said.

The new formulation involves a once-daily dose of the treatment. The current immediate-release formula tablets are approved for dosing two to three times a day.

Psychopharmacology can be an important part of many bipolar disorder treatment plans, but we would urge caution when introducing this newly approved drug into the treatment. While Seroquel has been around for close to decade, this is still a new option for doctors and patients. As when beginning any new drug treatment with bipolar disorder, vigilance is very important. Not every drug works well for every patient, and it is often difficult to predict how mood will be effected. Honest and open dialogue with both the prescribing physician and your therapist can help to prevent trouble.

As AstraZeneca will surely be trumpeting soon, the opportunity to treat bipolar disorder with a single pill should prove a helpful weapon to the approximately 6 million American adults who struggle with the disorder. But don't be lulled by the siren's call of a wonder treatment. If you are a candidate for this new treatment, speak with your doctor or therapist. For many bipolar people, there is now some hope that the disease can be gotten under control more easily.

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