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Am J Psychiatry. 1987 Nov;144(11):1403-11.

Can antidepressants cause mania and worsen the course of affective illness?

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  • 1Intramural Research Program, NIMH, Bethesda, MD 20892.


Several investigators have recently challenged the belief that antidepressants can precipitate mania or rapid cycling between mania and depression. With one exception, there appear to be no placebo-controlled studies of switches into mania in bipolar patients during antidepressant treatment. Patients most likely to switch into mania during antidepressant therapy have probably been excluded from maintenance treatment studies and are probably overrepresented in studies at special research facilities. On balance, the available evidence suggests that some bipolar patients become manic, and a few experience rapid cycling, when they are treated with antidepressants. The prevention of these responses will require further research on risk factors and on the antimanic efficacy of coadministered lithium or other mood stabilizers.

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