Health Care - University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry

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CONTACT: Megan Grote Quatrini
PHONE: (412) 586-9769
E-MAIL: [email protected]
CONTACT: Wendy Zellner
PHONE: (412) 586-9777
E-MAIL: [email protected]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
University of Pittsburgh Participating in Nationwide, Comparative
Effectiveness Study of Common Bipolar Medications
Bipolar CHOICE to evaluate efficacy of new medications compared to lithium – participants needed
PITTSBURGH, Feb. 21 – The Mood Disorders Treatment Research Program at the University
of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry, in coordination with the Bipolar Trials Network, is participating
in Bipolar CHOICE (Clinical Health Outcomes Initiative in Comparative Effectiveness), a 10-site
nationwide trial evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of quetiapine, a widely prescribed second
generation antipsychotic mood stabilizing medication, compared to lithium, the gold standard mood
stabilizer, for the treatment of bipolar disorder.
The study is funded by a $10 million grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research Quality
(AHRQ), and is being conducted locally by Edward S. Friedman, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry
at Pitt’s School of Medicine. Dr. Friedman and his research team are seeking adults with bipolar disorder,
ages 18-68, who are currently experiencing at least mild symptoms of depression, hypomania or mania to
participate in Bipolar CHOICE. Participants will receive either lithium or quetiapine as a mood stabilizer
and any other medications, prescribed as needed, for 6 months.
“Bipolar CHOICE is unique because it is the first study to examine the real-world pros and cons
of the newer, second generation mood stabilizers as compared to the classic mood stabilizer, lithium, for
the treatment of bipolar disorder,” adds Dr. Friedman.
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong and highly recurrent mood disorder characterized by episodes of
mania or hypomania that alternate with episodes of major depression. It is among the top 10 causes of
disability worldwide, with associated costs of $70.6 billion per year for treatment and prevention.
Over the past 10 years, the pharmacologic treatments for bipolar disorder have shifted away from
lithium, 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.
“We hope this study will help us determine which medications work best for patients with bipolar
disease with the least amount of side effect burden. Furthermore, these results may help us to design
personalized treatments for individuals with bipolar disorder,” notes Dr. Friedman.
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.
For additional information or to discuss eligibility for participation in the Bipolar CHOICE study,
please contact 412-246-6111or visit www.pittsburghbipolarstudy.com.
Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) is considered to be one of the nation’s foremost
university-based psychiatric care facilities and one of the world’s leading centers for research and
treatment of mental health disorders. WPIC houses the Department of Psychiatry of the University of
Pittsburgh School of Medicine and is the flagship of UPMC Behavioral Health, the psychiatric specialty
division of UPMC.
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