Objective. Many patients with bipolar disorder take adjunctive medications for anxiety. Using naturalistic data, we investigated the relationship between the use of adjunctive anxiolytics and the time spent in episodes or with subsyndromal mood symptoms. Methods. This was a post-hoc analysis of 310 patients with bipolar disorder who previously recorded mood and medications daily for 5 months using ChronoRecord software. One hundred patients were taking adjunctive anxiolytics for at least 50% of days; 210 were not. Of the 100 patients, 73 were taking a benzodiazepine. All patients taking anxiolytics were also receiving treatments for bipolar disorder. Results. Patients with bipolar disorder who were taking adjunctive medications for anxiety spent more time ill. Comparing patients who were taking or not taking anxiolytics, the mean days spent either in any episode or with subsyndromal symptoms was 45.6 vs. 29.6%, respectively (P<0.001), the mean days in any episode was 17.1 vs. 9.2%, respectively (P=0.016), and the mean days with subsyndromal depression was 26.4 vs. 16.2%, respectively (P=0.004). Conclusion. While this methodology cannot determine causality, these findings highlight the need for controlled studies of the long-term impact of adjunctive medications for anxiety on mood symptoms in patients being treated for bipolar disorder.
View details for DOI 10.1080/13651500802450514
View details for Web of Science ID 000263445900011