Aripiprazole augmentation in treatment-resistant bipolar depression: Early response and development of akathisia

David E. Kemp*, William S. Gilmer, Jenelle Fleck, Joshua L. Straus, Pedro L. Dago, Melissa Karaffa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


There is growing evidence that atypical antipsychotics may be effective in the treatment of acute bipolar depression. Results from randomized, placebo-controlled trials support the use of quetiapine monotherapy and a combination of olanzapine-fluoxetine in the depressed phase of bipolar disorder, while only limited data exists regarding the use of aripiprazole in this population. To assess the potential effectiveness of aripiprazole in treating acute bipolar depression, a chart review was conducted on 12 patients with treatment-resistant bipolar disorder (I, II, and not otherwise specified [NOS]) who received aripiprazole augmentation for the relief of an acute major depressive episode. After 8 weeks of treatment, 4 of 12 (33%) patients demonstrated a response, defined as a 50% reduction in the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) score. In addition, 5 of 12 (42%) patients newly developed akathisia. This report, though limited by its small sample size and naturalistic design, suggests that the usefulness of aripiprazole in the treatment of bipolar depression may be limited by akathisia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)574-577
Number of pages4
JournalProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 30 2007


  • Akathisia
  • Aripiprazole
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Treatment-resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Biological Psychiatry


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