New treatment options for bipolar depression continue to evolve (sponsored)

Co-authored by Dr. Greg Mattingly, Associate Clinical Professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO and St. Charles Psychiatric Associates Partner, Midwest Research Group in St. Charles, MO.

This article is sponsored by Intra-Cellular Therapies. Dr. Mattingly provides paid consulting services to intra-cellular therapies.

Bipolar disorder (Bipolar I or II) is a mental health condition characterized by unusual fluctuations in emotions or behavior. These mood swings, or mood episodes, can cause both lows (depression) and highs (mania). Although the cycle between lows and highs can be common, bipolar depression (the lows) often occurs much more frequently than manic or hypomanic episodes (the highs).

If you suspect you have bipolar disorder, you are not alone. About 11 million adults in the United States are affected by bipolar disorder, making it a very common condition. It is also the second leading cause of disability among common mental and physical conditions worldwide, with 87% of patients reporting severe impairment due to depressive episodes.

Bipolar I is characterized by having experienced at least one manic episode that lasted a week or more, or that required hospitalization. A feeling of loss of contact with reality can occur in up to 75% of manic episodes and can lead to significant functional impairment. In addition to manic episodes, bipolar I patients often struggle with episodes of depression. When they are sick, individuals spend 70% of their time fighting depression.

Bipolar II does not have the “high” extreme seen in Bipolar I and is often characterized by depressive episodes that have higher frequency and severity. When sick, bipolar II individuals spend 81% of their time struggling with depression.

Research shows that two out of three people with bipolar disorder (I or II) are initially misdiagnosed with major depression instead of bipolar disorder. On average, people who are misdiagnosed see 4 doctors before receiving an accurate diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Although there are key differences between the signs and symptoms of bipolar I and bipolar II, people with bipolar I or II spend the majority of their time struggling with depression. During an episode of bipolar depression, people often feel sad or hopeless, may lose interest or pleasure in most activities, and may experience difficulty with anger and emotions. Bipolar depressive episodes are often very debilitating in daily life and can interfere with friendships, relationships, and general day-to-day functioning.

Although the cause of bipolar disorder is not fully understood, researchers are working to learn how to best treat bipolar depression. With approximately 69% of people with bipolar disorder initially being misdiagnosed, it is important for patients to have an open conversation with their healthcare provider and speak candidly about their symptoms and how they affect their daily lives. This will help establish a proper diagnosis and ultimately an appropriate treatment plan.

A new treatment option for people struggling with bipolar depression is CAPLYTA® (lumateperone). CAPLYTA is a once-daily prescription medicine that can treat depressive episodes in adults with bipolar I or II and can be taken alone or with lithium or valproate.

To learn more about CAPLYTA, visit

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