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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 17

of 'Bipolar disorder in pregnant women: Treatment of major depression'

Current issues: women and bipolar disorder.
Marangell LB
Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2008;10(2):229.
While the treatment of bipolar disorder (BD) is typically complex, the treatment of women with bipolar disorder is even more challenging because clinicians must also individualize treatment based on the potential for pregnancy, drug interactions with oral contraceptives, and an increased risk of endocrine diseases that can either impact the course of illness or become manifest with some treatments. Women with BD should be checked for hypothyroidism, and if prescribed antidepressants, carefully watched for rapid cycling or a mood switch to mania, hypomania, or a mixed state. Several medications interact with oral contraceptives or increase the risk of developing polycystic ovary syndrome. Consideration of possible pregnancy is essential, and should be planned in advance whenever possible. Rates of recurrence have been shown to be equal in pregnant and nonpregnant women with BD. Risks of medication to the fetus at various points of development must be balanced against the risks of not treating, which is also detrimental to both fetus and mother. The postpartum period is a time of especially high risk; as many as 40% to 67% of women with BD report experiencing a postpartum mania or depression. The decision to breastfeed must also take into account the adverse impact of sleep deprivation in triggering mood episodes. In order to best address these issues, clinicians must be familiar with the data and collaborate with the patient to assess risks and benefits for the individual women and her family.
Mood Disorders Center, Menninger Department of Psychiatry, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Texas, USA. drlauren@lilly.com