CNS Drugs

, Volume 23, Issue 11, pp 953–964

Epidemiology and Management of Anxiety in Patients with Bipolar Disorder

  • Marcia Kauer-Sant’ Anna
  • Flavio Kapczinski
  • Eduard Vieta
Review Article

DOI: 10.2165/11310850-000000000-00000

Cite this article as:
Anna, M.KS., Kapczinski, F. & Vieta, E. CNS Drugs (2009) 23: 953. doi:10.2165/11310850-000000000-00000


Epidemiological and clinical studies have reported a high prevalence of anxiety symptoms in bipolar disorder, either in manic or depressive episodes, although these symptoms do not always meet criteria for a specific anxiety disorder. In addition to anxiety symptoms, bipolar disorder frequently presents with co-morbid axis I conditions, with anxiety disorders being the most common co-morbidity. Therefore, the objective of this article is to review clinical and epidemiological studies that have investigated the association between bipolar disorder and anxiety. Available data on the efficacy of treatments for bipolar disorder and co-morbid anxiety disorders are also reviewed. Existing guidelines do recognize that co-morbid anxiety has a negative impact on the course and outcome of bipolar disorder; however, there have been very few double-blind, controlled trials examining the treatment response of patients with bipolar disorder and co-occurring anxiety disorders. There is some positive evidence for quetiapine, olanzapine in combination with fluoxetine or lithium, and lamotrigine with lithium, and negative evidence for risperidone. Other therapies used for bipolar disorder, including several mood stabilizers, antidepressants, atypical antipsychotics and benzodiazepines, have been shown to reduce anxiety symptoms, but specific data for their effects in patients with anxiety symptoms co-morbid with bipolar disorder are not available. The co-occurrence of anxiety and bipolar disorder has implications for diagnosis, clinical outcome, treatment and prognosis. Careful screening for co-morbid anxiety symptoms and disorders is warranted when diagnosing and treating patients with bipolar disorder.

Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcia Kauer-Sant’ Anna
    • 1
  • Flavio Kapczinski
    • 1
  • Eduard Vieta
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Bipolar Disorders Program and Molecular Psychiatry Unit, INCT-Translational Medicine, Hospital de Clinicas (HCPA)Federal University of Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  2. 2.Bipolar Disorders Program, Hospital ClinicUniversity of Barcelona, IDIBAPSBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Centro de Investigación Biomèdica En Red de Salud Mental (CIBERSAM)Institut D’Investigació Biomèdica August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS)BarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.McLean HospitalHarvard UniversityBelmontUSA