Treatment-Resistant Bipolar Depression: Concepts and Challenges for Novel Interventions [Review]

SOURCE: Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria. 44(2):178-186, 2022 Mar-Abr.

AUTHORS: Diaz AP; Fernandes BS; Quevedo J; Sanches M; Soares JC

ABSTRACT: Treatment-resistant bipolar depression (TRBD) has been reported in about one-quarter of patients with bipolar disorders, and few interventions have shown clear and established effectiveness. We conducted a narrative review of the published medical literature to identify papers discussing treatment-resistant depression concepts and novel interventions for bipolar depression that focus on TRBD. We searched for potentially relevant English-language articles published in the last decade. Selected articles (based on the title and abstract) were retrieved for a more detailed evaluation. A number of promising new interventions, both pharmacological and non-pharmacological, are being investigated for TRBD treatment, including ketamine, lurasidone, D-cycloserine, pioglitazone, N-acetylcysteine, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin II type 1 receptor blockers, cyclooxygenase 2 inhibitors, magnetic seizure therapy, intermittent theta-burst stimulation, deep transcranial magnetic stimulation, vagus nerve stimulation therapy, and deep brain stimulation. Although there is no consensus about the concept of TRBD, better clarification of the neurobiology associated with treatment non-response could help identify novel strategies. More research is warranted, mainly focusing on personalizing current treatments to optimize response and remission rates.