Atypical Antipsychotics in the Treatment of Acute Bipolar Depression with Mixed Features: A Systematic Review and Exploratory Meta-Analysis of Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trials.
OBJECTIVE Depression is the predominant psychosocial and suicide burden in bipolar disorder, yet there is a paucity of evidence-based treatments for bipolar depression. METHODS This post hoc subgroup analysis of data pooled from two 3-week, randomized, placebo- and olanzapine-controlled trials (December 2004-April 2006, N = 489 and November 2004-April 2006, N = 488) examined a subgroup of patients meeting criteria for moderate-to-severe mixed major depressive episodes, defined using DSM-IV-TR criteria for mixed episodes (mania and major depression simultaneously) with a baseline Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) total score ≥ 20. RESULTS Decreases in MADRS scores (least squares mean [SE]), the a priori primary outcome, were significantly greater in the asenapine group than in the placebo group from baseline to day 7 (-11.02 [1.82] vs -4.78 [1.89]; P = .0195), day 21 (-14.03 [2.01] vs -7.43 [2.09]; P = .0264), and endpoint (-10.71 [1.76] vs -5.19 [1.98]; P = .039). Decreases in MADRS scores with asenapine were significantly greater than with olanzapine from baseline to day 7 (-6.26 [1.47]; P = .0436). Decreases in Young Mania Rating Scale mean total score were greater with asenapine than with placebo or olanzapine at all time points assessed. A significantly greater reduction from baseline to day 21 in the Short Form-36 mental component summary score was observed with asenapine, but not olanzapine, compared with placebo (16.57 vs 5.97; P = .0093). Asenapine was generally well tolerated. CONCLUSIONS These data provide support for the potential efficacy of asenapine in mixed major depressive episodes; however, these data cannot be linearly extrapolated to nonmixed major depression.