MGH Bipolar CHOICE trial to evaluate effectiveness of new medications compared to lithium

March 24, 2016

Over the past 10 years, the pharmacologic treatments for bipolar disorder have shifted away from lithium - which is available as a generic medication - in favor of newly developed antipsychotics, such as quetiapine. Both drugs have well documented side effects. Quetiapine has the risk of drowsiness, weight gain, and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Lithium is associated with the risk of long-term thyroid and kidney problems.

"A real-world effectiveness study may uncover considerable differences regarding the risks of adverse effects, costs, and adherence to treatment. If such differences are found, the results of this study would have immediate and profound implications for clinical treatment decisions," says Louisa Sylvia, PhD, director of Clinical Operations of Bipolar CHOICE.

The AHRQ grant is part of an investments made under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which designated $1.1. billion to support patient-centered outcomes research. This research is designed to inform health care decisions by providing evidence and information on the effectiveness, benefits and harms of different treatment options.

Source: Massachusetts General Hospital