(RxWiki News) A nationwide study called Bipolar CHOICE is being launched this month to better understand the daily experiences of people with bipolar disorder and to ascertain which medications work best.
Over 10 million people in America have bipolar disorder, or manic depression, which causes frequent extreme shifts in mood and energy. It is a chronic disorder that affects both men and women equally. Manic episodes can last for days and even months, placing it in the top ten causes of disability worldwide.
The Mood Disorders Program at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, in conjunction with the Bipolar Trials Network, is launching a 10-site initiative called CHOICE (Clinical Health Outcomes Initiative in Comparative Effectiveness) to evaluate the effectiveness of a popular bipolar drug.
Quetiapine (commerically known as Seroquel), an antipsychotic mood stabilizer, is being tested against lithium, which is the standard bipolar drug. Bipolar CHOICE is allowing patients to be treated with a variety of medications, but their focus is to weigh the pros and cons of quetiapine versus other options.
Both quetiapine and lithium have potentially serious side effects. Quetiapine poses risk of cardiovascular disease, along with weight gain and drowsiness. Lithium has been linked to thyroid and kidney problems.
The study aims to evaluate "the day-to-day practice of psychiatry in a meaningful way," according to Dr. Joseph R. Calabrese, the principal CHOICE investigator.