Treatment outcomes of acute bipolar depressive episode with psychosis

Marco Antonio Caldieraro, Steven Dufour, Louisa G. Sylvia, Keming Gao, Terence A. Ketter, William V. Bobo, Samantha Walsh, Jessica Janos, Mauricio Tohen, Noreen A. Reilly-Harrington, Susan L. McElroy, Richard C. Shelton, Charles L. Bowden, Thilo Deckersbach, Andrew A. Nierenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: The impact of psychosis on the treatment of bipolar depression is remarkably understudied. The primary aim of this study was to compare treatment outcomes of bipolar depressed individuals with and without psychosis. The secondary aim was to compare the effect of lithium and quetiapine, each with adjunctive personalized treatments (APTs), in the psychotic subgroup. Methods: We assessed participants with DSM-IV bipolar depression included in a comparative effectiveness study of lithium and quetiapine with APTs (the Bipolar CHOICE study). Severity was assessed by the Bipolar Inventory of Symptoms Scale (BISS) and by the Clinical Global Impression Scale–Severity–Bipolar Version (CGI-S-BP). Mixed models were used to assess the course of symptom change, and Cox regression survival analysis was used to assess the time to remission. Results: Psychotic features were present in 10.6% (n = 32) of the depressed participants (n = 303). Those with psychotic features had higher scores on the BISS before (75.2 ± 17.6 vs. 54.9 ± 16.3; P <.001) and after (37.2 ± 19.7 vs. 26.3 ± 18.0; P =.003) 6-month treatment. The CGI-S-BP yielded similar results. Participants with and without psychosis had similar course of symptom improvement and similar time to remission. There was no significant difference in the treatment outcomes of lithium (n = 11) and quetiapine (n = 21) among the psychotic subgroup. Conclusion: Bipolar depressive episodes with psychotic features are more severe, and compared to nonpsychotic depressions, present a similar course of improvement. Given the small number of participants presenting psychosis, the lack of statistically significant difference between lithium- and quetiapine-based treatment of psychotic bipolar depressive episodes needs replication in a larger sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-410
Number of pages9
JournalDepression and Anxiety
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018


  • bipolar depression
  • bipolar disorder
  • psychosis
  • psychotic mood disorders
  • treatment outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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