2013 issue 2


Volume 29, issue 2

Review article

Treatment of rapid-cycling bipolar disorder

Łukasz Święcicki1, Marlena Sokół-Szawłowska1
1. Oddział Chorób Afektywnych II Kliniki Psychiatrii, Instytut Psychiatrii i Neurologii
Farmakoterapia w Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2013, 2, 79–88
Keywords: bipolar disorder, rapid cycling, pharmacological treatment, non-pharmacological methods of treatment


The article focuses on a review of data, derived from the professional literature, concerning the treatment of rapid- -cycling bipolar disorder. The definition of the discussed problem has been presented in the introduction. The authors, who are practicing psychiatrists, also present a critical review of data, based on specialist literature, from the perspective of its usefulness in everyday clinical practice. The results of a study regarding the pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment methods of rapid-cycling bipolar disorder have been also included. The pharmacological method involves the use of antidepressants in the treatment of rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, although there are a number of controversies related to their use; these are also discussed. Next, the authors present the results of a study regarding the use of the new generation antipsychotic drugs and mood stabilizers, following which they have present the study results, involving standard medication such as calcium channel blockers and thyroid hormones applied in the treatment of somatic disorders. At present, an alternative to the pharmacotherapy of rapid-cycling bipolar disorder is electroconvulsive therapy, and also perhaps transcranial magnetic stimulation. However, our knowledge of effective treatment methods of rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, based on the results of the very few studies available – which are often undertaken in the remission periods – is still insufficient. Therefore, there is an urgent need to carry out long-term research on more diagnostically homogenous groups, the results of which would be unquestionably useful in the course of making therapeutic decisions.