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January 27, 2011

Ongoing study investigating new medication therapy for bipolar disorder

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Patients who suffer from bipolar disorder, a serious mental disorder characterized by periods of excitability (mania) alternating with periods of depression, can spend years trying to strike a balance between effective treatment and the least severe side effects from their medications.

That’s because treatment typically involves identifying appropriate medications to manage depression and mania and help stabilize the “mood swings” associated with this condition.

A team of University of Virginia Health System researchers is leading a Phase II clinical trial investigating a medication called uridine, a naturally occurring molecule, to treat the depression phase of bipolar disorder type I (type I indicates that patients have had prior episodes of mania).

“What early studies have found with uridine thus far is a low level of side effects,” says Anita Clayton, MD, study leader and professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences at the UVA School of Medicine.  This addresses a major problem with treating bipolar disorder — compliance.  “Many patients often stop taking one or all of their medications because of the side effects.”

Eligible participants must be ages 18 to 65, with a documented history of medication treatment for bipolar I depression.

For more information about this 8-week outpatient clinical trial, contact Rachel Bailey, MS, clinical research coordinator, UVA Center for Psychiatric Clinical Research at (434) 243-4631.  UVA-HSR IRB #14654.

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