MIAMI (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) – Response rates for psychotic and nonpsychotic depression in bipolar disorder were statistically similar, regardless of treatment, an ad hoc analysis has shown.

Over a 6 month period, results from the multisite, randomized, controlled Bipolar CHOICE (Clinical Health Outcomes Initiative in Comparative Effectiveness for Bipolar Disorder) study showed that 482 patients anywhere on the bipolar spectrum, given either lithium or quetiapine, had similar treatment response rates over 6 months.

Marco Antonio Caldieraro, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and a research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston , presented data on treatment outcomes for the 32 people in the CHOICE study who also had depression with psychosis at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology, formerly known as the New Clinical Drug Evaluation Unit meeting. Dr. Caldieraro was named a new investigator awardee for his study.

“When you look at the course of the improvement for those with psychosis, they had more severe disorder at baseline,and presented with these symptoms throughout the study. But, when we compare curves of improvement, those with severe disorder responded to treatment at the same pace [as those without psychosis],” Dr. Caldieraro said.

The overall scores for the Bipolar Inventory of Symptoms Scale ( BISS ) at baseline were 75.2 plus or minus 17.6 percentage points for those with psychosis, vs. 54.9 plus or minus 16.3 for those without (P less than .001). At 6 months, the scores were more in range with one another: 37.2 plus or minus 19.7 for those with psychosis and 26.3 plus or minus 18.0 for those without (P = .003). The BISS depression scores at baseline for those with psychosis were 29.5 plus or minus 7.0, compared with 24.9 plus or minus 8.0 for those without (P = .002). At study end, the scores were 13.0 plus or minus 8.6, vs. 10.9 plus or minus 9.5 (P = .253).

Overall Clinical Global Impressions ( CGI ) scores for bipolar disorder at baseline in the group with psychosis were 5.1 plus or minus 0.9, compared with 4.5 plus or minus 0.8 in those without (P less than .001). At 6 months, the scores were 3.4 plus or minus 1.3, vs. 2.8 plus or minus 1.3 (P = .032). The CGI scores for depression in the psychosis group at baseline were 4.9 plus or minus 0.9, compared with 4.4 plus or minus 0.9 in the nonpsychosis group (P = .006). At 6 months, the psychosis groups’ scores were 3.1 plus or minus 1.4, compared with 2.6 plus or minus 1.3 in the nonpsychosis group (P = .07).

In addition to either lithium or quetiapine, patients in the CHOICE study also received adjunctive personalized treatment. Patients who received lithium plus APT were not given second-generation antipsychotics, while those given quetiapine plus APT were not given lithium or any other second-generation antipsychotic.

In the quetiapine group, 21 people had psychotic depression at baseline. In the lithium group, there were 11. The time to remission was numerically, although not statistically, similar between the patients with psychosis in the lithium and the quetiapine groups.

Compared with the CHOICE study participants without psychosis, the subanalysis showed that the 32 people with psychotic features were far more likely to be single or never married (P = .036), employed at half the rate (P = .035), twice as likely to suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (P = .028), and more likely to have social phobias (P = .018). People with psychotic depression in the study also were more likely to suffer from agoraphobia.

One reason for his interest in the study, Dr. Caldieraro said, was that, despite the worse prognosis for people on the bipolar spectrum with psychotic depression, the literature on treatment outcomes for this cohort is scant.

“Ours is a small sample, so you could say that we didn’t have enough power, but we have some interesting results,” he said during his presentation. “The results need replication, but the study suggests that maybe, if we make the patient better, it doesn’t matter which medication we use.”

Dr. Caldieraro had no relevant disclosures. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality funded the CHOICE study, NCT01331304 .

On Twitter @whitneymcknight


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