, Volume 24, Issue 7, pp 575-593
Date: 29 Aug 2012

Pharmacotherapy of bipolar disorder in children and adolescents

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Child and adolescent bipolar disorder (BPD) is a serious psychiatric disorder that often causes significant impairment in functioning. Pharmacological intervention is the cornerstone of treatment for bipolar youth, although psychotherapeutic interventions may be beneficial as adjunctive treatment. Medications used for the treatment of BPD in adults are still commonly used for bipolar children and adolescents. With the recent US FDA indication of risperidone, aripiprazole, quetiapine and olanzapine for the treatment of bipolar youth, the atypical antipsychotics are rapidly becoming a first-line treatment option. However, these agents are associated with adverse effects such as increased appetite, weight gain and type II diabetes mellitus. Although several evidence-based medications are now available for the treatment of BPD in younger populations, additional studies to evaluate the short- and long-term efficacy and potential for adverse events of these and other medications are needed.