Better treatment for people with bipolar
disease and other mental illnesses is likely to come from properly
tested combinations of existing therapies, according to leading
psychiatry researcher Professor John Geddes.
New research led by Professor Geddes at Oxford
University has revealed that bipolar disorder – suffered by 1
in 100 people including Stephen Fry and actress Carrie Fisher – is
optimally treated by a combination of lithium and sodium
Professor Geddes told delegates at the Royal
College of Psychiatrists’ 2010 International Congress in Edinburgh:
“We showed that this combination is substantially better than
valproate on its own, and may be slightly better than lithium on
Professor Geddes called for more research into
the development of combination therapies. He said: “Cancer and
heart disease are now routinely treated with combinations of drugs,
following well-conducted trials to identify medications that work
best together. But psychiatry has lagged behind in the
development of sound evidence-based combination therapies.
“Psychiatric patients are often prescribed
several drugs to control symptoms. But they are rarely tested
combinations, and more frequently come about when an extra drug is
added by the doctor when the existing medication is failing to
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International Congress of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Edinburgh, 21-24 June 2010.