Medication for high-risk groups

What is high risk for bipolar disorder?

People deemed at high risk for bipolar disorder can be identified by having a family history of a mood disorder and/or having subclinical symptoms that are not severe enough for a diagnosis. Subclinical symptoms include depression, difficulty with concentration, episodic mood swings, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and sensitivity to stress. Familial risk accompanied by mood dysregulation or other mood symptomatology could help define the population at high risk of bipolar disorder. Early intervention involves identifying and treating these high-risk individuals as repeated mood episodes put people at risk of poor symptomatic and functional recovery.

What is the evidence for medication in people at high risk for bipolar disorder?

Moderate to low quality evidence finds aripiprazole was significantly superior to placebo in improving mood, ADHD, and functioning scores in children and adolescents with a parent with bipolar disorder. There were no effects of valproate compared to placebo.

November 2021

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Last updated at: 5:34 pm, 15th February 2022
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