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Psychiatr Serv. 2010 Feb;61(2):164-72. doi: 10.1176/

One-year treatment outcomes of African-American and Hispanic patients with bipolar I or II disorder in STEP-BD.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Health Science Center, 7703 Floyd Curl Dr., San Antonio, TX 78229, USA.



Few studies have compared treatment outcomes of African-American, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic white patients with bipolar disorder. The U.S. Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder compared one-year outcomes for bipolar I or II disorder from each of these racial-ethnic groups.


African Americans (N=155) were retrospectively compared with a matched group of non-Hispanic whites (N=729), and Hispanics (N=152) were compared with a separate matched group of non-Hispanic whites (N=822). Response and recovery outcomes were examined. Survival analysis was used to compare time to treatment response for depression (Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale) and mania (Young Mania Rating Scale) as well as global assessment of functioning (Global Assessment of Functioning).


For manic and depressive symptoms, time to response and proportion of responders were similar across groups. Over the study year the proportion of days well was similar across groups. A smaller proportion of African Americans met criteria for improved global functioning. Depression response among African Americans with psychotic symptoms was slower than the response among African Americans without psychotic symptoms and among non-Hispanic whites with or without psychotic symptoms. No differences between Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites in response times and recovery were observed.


Results are consistent with U.S. clinical trials for other psychiatric disorders, which have reported similar outcomes for ratings of primary symptoms. Baseline psychotic symptoms are likely a significant contributor when African Americans with bipolar disorder are slow to recover. These results may be less generalizable to uninsured patients.

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