Anti-Depressants Found To Do Bipolar Patients More Harm Than Good

New research shows that common anti-depressant medication, Effexor may do more harm to the health of bipolar patients than good.

The recently reported study led by researcher, Jessica Warner, looked at 377 individuals between the ages of 18 – 65 who had been hospitalised with bipolar disorder.

All patients were taking mood stabilising medications, so the effects of taking an additional antidepressant medication in comparison to not taking an anti-depressant medication were studied over the course of a year.

Hospital readmission post-discharge was used as a primary outcome measure for the effectiveness of the drug treatment.

Researchers found that there was no reduction in hospital readmission rates for patients taking Effexor as well as a mood stabiliser.

In fact, patients taking Effexor were more likely to be readmitted to hospital for mood disorders than patients not taking an anti-depressant, or those taking a different antidepressant to Effexor.

Results also showed that patients with anxiety as well as bipolar disorder were more likely to be readmitted than patients with bipolar alone, regardless of medication status.

These findings confirm previous research from the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder indicating that antidepressants do not provide any additional benefit to bipolar treatment with mood stabilisers.

Furthermore, the use of venflaxine (Effexor) may actually be harmful to individuals with bipolar. 

This research should prompt clinicians to carefully consider antidepressant use for bipolar depression, and indicates that further research is required to find more effective treatment options for bipolar patients, particularly those with concomitant anxiety.


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