A Focused Systematic Review of Pharmacological Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder
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Medicines are routinely prescribed to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD) despite a relative lack of high-quality evidence and in breach of some treatment guidelines. An earlier Cochrane review of pharmacotherapy in BPD underlined the lack of evidence, encouraged the replication of earlier studies, but also emphasised the pressing need for more randomised placebo-controlled trials, and for those studies to employ broadened inclusion criteria.
The authors searched bibliographic databases, reference lists of articles and trials registers. Records were screened to identify those that met the inclusion criteria. Full-text articles were screened and assessed for eligibility. On-going trials of pharmacotherapy in BPD were also identified.
Fifteen new studies of pharmacotherapy for BPD were identified since the earlier review. Eight of those examined second generation antipsychotics, two investigated mood stabilisers, three investigated antidepressants and two studied the effectiveness of opioid antagonists. Results for the effectiveness of antipsychotics appeared to be mixed. There has been little recent evidence to support the use of mood stabilisers. There is a lack of new placebo-controlled, randomised controlled trials investigating antidepressants and limited new evidence to support the use of opioid antagonists.
The review revealed that there remains a dearth of high-quality research evidence to help patients, carers and clinicians make sound and safe evidence-based decisions about medicines to treat BPD.
KeywordsOlanzapine Borderline Personality Disorder Aripiprazole Naltrexone Mood Stabiliser
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflicts of interest
Marco Picchioni has served on an advisory board for Galen Health Partners. Ella Hancock-Johnson and Chris Griffiths have no conflicts of interest to declare.
No funding was used in the preparation of this manuscript.
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