Assessment and Treatment of Bipolar Disorder in the Elderly
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Eastham, J.H., Jeste, D.V. & Young, R.C. Drugs & Aging (1998) 12: 205. doi:10.2165/00002512-199812030-00004
The aetiology of late-onset bipolar disorder is heterogeneous because the disease is more likely to have a secondary (i.e. a medical disorder or medication-induced) cause in older than in younger patients. Elderly patients with bipolar disorder typically require lithium dosages that are 25 to 50% lower than those used in younger individuals. Information on the use of valproic acid (sodium valproate) in elderly patients with bipolar disorder is limited but encouraging. In contrast, there is virtually no information regarding the use of carbamazepine or other drugs in this patient group. Electroconvulsive therapy is well tolerated by older people and can be useful for these patients.