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About Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Depression Is Commonly Misdiagnosed1

Unipolar depression is the most common misdiagnosis, followed by anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, personality disorders, and substance—or alcohol—abuse disorders1

  • Depressive symptoms of unipolar depression are the same as those of bipolar depression2

Many patients wait more than 10 years from the onset of symptoms to receive an accurate diagnosis of bipolar disorder1,3

Screening tools such as the Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) and Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) 3.0 have been developed to help clinicians uncover a history of mania to differentiate bipolar depression from unipolar depression4,5

Watch an expert discuss the diagnosis and treatment challenges of bipolar depression.


See more Dr. Stahl videos

Depression Is Often Seen at the Onset of Bipolar Disorder6

On average patients with bipolar disorder experience 3 times more depression than mania7

In some cases patients may experience depressed moods without mood elevation for 5 or more years8

Since symptoms of mania may be overlooked or underreported, it may be useful for patients who are not responding to treatment with antidepressants to be screened for bipolar disorder9-11

Antidepressants May Be Ineffective for Bipolar Disorder10-12

Treatment for bipolar disorder most often starts with antidepressants, despite limited evidence of effectiveness10-12

Use of antidepressants in bipolar disorder:

  • May be ineffective, resulting in multiple-drug treatment failure9,10
  • May induce a switch to mania or hypomania9,10

Only a few FDA-approved agents are indicated for the treatment of bipolar depression9,10

Hirschfeld RM, Lewis L, Vornik LA. Perceptions and impact of bipolar disorder: how far have we really come? Results of the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association 2000 survey of individuals with bipolar disorder. J Clin Psychiatry. 2003;64(2):161-174.
2. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed. Washington, DC:  American Psychiatric Association; 2013.
3. Baldessarini RJ, Tondo L, Baethge CJ, Lepri B, Bratti IM. Effects of treatment latency on response to maintenance treatment in manic-depressive disorders. Bipolar Disord. 2007;9(4):386-393. 
4. Hirschfeld RM, Williams JB, Spitzer RL, et al. Development and validation of a screening instrument for bipolar spectrum disorder: the Mood Disorder Questionnaire. Am J Psychiatry. 2000;157(11):1873-1875. 
5. Kessler RC, Ustün TB. The World Mental Health (WMH) survey initiative version of the World Health Organization (WHO) Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). Int J Methods Psychiatr Res. 2004;13(2):93-121.
6. Suppes T, Leverich GS, Keck PE, et al. The Stanley Foundation Bipolar Treatment Outcome Network. II. Demographics and illness characteristics of the first 261 patients. J Affect Disord. 2001;67(1-3):45-59.
7. Judd LL, Akiskal HS, Schettler PJ, et al. The long-term natural history of the weekly symptomatic status of bipolar I disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2002;59(6):530-537.
8. Perlis RH. Misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder. Am J Manag Care. 2005;11(9 suppl):S271-S274.
9. Anderson IM, Haddad PM, Scott J. Bipolar disorder. BMJ. 2012;27;345:e8508. doi: 10.1136/bmj.e8508.
10. Muzina DJ, Colangelo E, Manning JS, Calabrese JR. Differentiating bipolar disorder from depression in primary care. Cleve Clin J Med. 2007;74(2):89, 92, 95-99.
11. Manning JS.Tools to improve differential diagnosis of bipolar disorder in primary care. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2010;12(suppl 1):17-22. doi: 10.4088/PCC.9064su1c.03.
12. Baldessarini RJ, Leahy L, Arcona S, Gause D, Zhang W, Hennen J. Patterns of psychotropic drug prescription for U.S. patients with diagnoses of bipolar disorders. Psychiatr Serv. 2007;58(1):85-91.



Increased Mortality in Elderly Patients with Dementia-Related Psychosis
Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. LATUDA is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis.

Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors
Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in patients aged 24 years and younger. Monitor for clinical worsening and emergence of suicidal thoughts and behavior. LATUDA is not approved for use in pediatric patients with depression.


CONTRAINDICATIONS: LATUDA is contraindicated in the following:

Cerebrovascular Adverse Reactions, Including Stroke: In clinical trials, elderly subjects with dementia randomized to risperidone, aripiprazole, and olanzapine had a higher incidence of stroke and transient ischemic attack, including fatal stroke. LATUDA is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis.

Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS): NMS is a potentially fatal symptom complex, reported with administration of antipsychotic drugs. Clinical signs of NMS are hyperpyrexia, muscle rigidity, altered mental status, and evidence of autonomic instability. Additional signs may include elevated creatine phosphokinase, myoglobinuria (rhabdomyolysis), and acute renal failure. Manage NMS with immediate discontinuation of antipsychotic drugs, including LATUDA, intensive symptomatic treatment, and monitoring.

Tardive Dyskinesia (TD): The risk of developing TD (a syndrome of abnormal involuntary movements) and the potential for it to become irreversible are believed to increase as the duration of treatment and total cumulative dose of antipsychotic increase. The syndrome can develop, although much less commonly, after relatively brief treatment periods at low doses. There is no known treatment for established TD, although the syndrome may remit, partially or completely, if antipsychotic treatment is withdrawn.

Metabolic Changes Atypical antipsychotic drugs have caused metabolic changes including:

Hyperglycemia and Diabetes Mellitus: Hyperglycemia, in some cases extreme and associated with ketoacidosis or hyperosmolar coma or death, has been reported in patients treated with atypical antipsychotics. Patients with diabetes should be regularly monitored for worsening of glucose control; those with risk factors for diabetes should undergo fasting blood glucose testing at the beginning of and periodically during treatment. Any patient treated with atypical antipsychotics should be monitored for symptoms of hyperglycemia including polydipsia, polyuria, polyphagia, and weakness. Patients who develop symptoms of hyperglycemia should undergo fasting blood glucose testing. In some cases, hyperglycemia has resolved when the atypical antipsychotic was discontinued; however, some patients required continuation of anti-diabetic treatment despite discontinuation of the suspect drug.

Dyslipidemia: Undesirable alterations in lipids have been observed in patients treated with atypical antipsychotics.

Weight Gain: Weight gain has been observed with atypical antipsychotic use. Clinical monitoring of weight is recommended.

Hyperprolactinemia: As with other drugs that antagonize dopamine D2 receptors, LATUDA elevates prolactin levels. Galactorrhea, amenorrhea, gynecomastia, and impotence have been reported in patients receiving prolactin-elevating compounds.

Leukopenia, Neutropenia, and Agranulocytosis: Leukopenia/neutropenia has been reported with antipsychotics. Agranulocytosis (including fatal cases) has been reported with other agents in the class. Monitor complete blood count in patients with a pre-existing low white blood cell count (WBC)/absolute neutrophil count (ANC) or history of drug-induced leukopenia/neutropenia. Discontinue LATUDA at the first sign of a decline in WBC in the absence of other causative factors.

Orthostatic Hypotension and Syncope: Atypical antipsychotics cause orthostatic hypotension and syncope. Generally, the risk is greatest at the beginning of treatment and when increasing the dose. Monitor patients vulnerable to hypotension and those with cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease.

Falls: Antipsychotics may cause somnolence, postural hypotension, motor and sensory instability, which may lead to falls causing fractures or other injuries. For patients with disease, conditions, or medications that could exacerbate these effects, complete fall risk assessments when initiating treatment and recurrently during therapy.

Seizures: LATUDA should be used cautiously in patients with a history of seizures or with conditions that lower seizure threshold.

Potential for Cognitive and Motor Impairment: Patients should be cautioned about operating hazardous machinery, including motor vehicles, until they are reasonably certain that therapy with LATUDA does not affect them adversely.

Body Temperature Regulation: Use LATUDA with caution in patients who may experience conditions that increase body temperature (e.g., exercising strenuously, exposure to extreme heat, concomitant medication with anticholinergic activity, or being subject to dehydration).

Dysphagia: Antipsychotics, including LATUDA, have been associated with esophageal dysmotility and aspiration, and should be used with caution in patients at risk for aspiration pneumonia.

Most Commonly Observed Adverse Reactions: Commonly observed adverse reactions (≥5% incidence and at least twice the rate of placebo) for LATUDA:

To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS, contact Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. at 877-737-7226 or FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (www.fda.gov/medwatch).


LATUDA is indicated for:

Before prescribing LATUDA, please read the full Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warnings.