Adjunctive tianeptine treatment for bipolar disorder: A 24-week randomized, placebo-controlled, maintenance trial
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OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy and tolerability of tianeptine as an adjunctive maintenance treatment for bipolar depression. METHODS: This is a multicenter double-blind randomized placebo-controlled maintenance trial of adjunctive tianeptine 37.5 mg/day. Participants ( n=161) had a Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale ⩾12 at entry. After eight weeks of open-label tianeptine treatment, those who responded to tianeptine ( n=69) were randomized to adjunctive tianeptine ( n=36) or placebo ( n=33) in addition to usual treatment. Kaplan-Meier estimates and the Mantel-Cox log-rank test were used to evaluate differences in time to intervention for a mood episode between the tianeptine and placebo groups. We also assessed overall functioning, biological rhythms, quality of life, rates of manic switch and serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels. RESULTS: There were no differences between adjunctive tianeptine or placebo regarding time to intervention or depression scores in the 24-week double-blind controlled phase. Patients in the tianeptine group showed better performance in the letter-number sequencing subtest from the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale at the endpoint ( p=0.014). Tianeptine was well tolerated and not associated with higher risk for manic switch compared to placebo. CONCLUSION: Tianeptine was not more effective than placebo in the maintenance treatment of bipolar depression. There is preliminary evidence suggesting a pro-cognitive effect of tianeptine in working memory compared to placebo.
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