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(p. 273) Treatments for Pediatric Bipolar Disorder 

(p. 273) Treatments for Pediatric Bipolar Disorder
(p. 273) Treatments for Pediatric Bipolar Disorder

Pablo H. Goldberg

, Prerna Martin

, Carolina Biernacki

, and Moira A. Rynn

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date: 28 October 2020

The past two decades have seen significant advances in the development of evidence-based treatments for pediatric bipolar disorder. Practice guidelines recommend pharmacotherapy with mood stabilizers or second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) as the first-line treatment. Lithium, risperidone, aripiprazole, quetiapine, and olanzapine are approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for treating bipolar disorder in children and adolescents. The pharmacological literature suggests that SGAs are faster and more effective than mood stabilizers in treating acute manic or mixed episodes, but they have significant side effects and require careful monitoring. While mild to moderate bipolar disorder can be treated with monotherapy, combination pharmacotherapy with an SGA and a mood stabilizer is recommended for youth with severe bipolar disorder. A growing body of literature also suggests the efficacy of psychosocial interventions, with family psychoeducation and skills building as adjunct treatments to pharmacotherapy. More type 1 studies of pharmacotherapy and psychosocial treatments are needed.

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