What is the Polarity Index and how is it used in the treatment of bipolar affective disorder (manic-depressive illness)?

Updated: May 30, 2019
  • Author: Stephen Soreff, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Popovic et al suggested the use of a Polarity Index to guide the choice of maintenance therapy in bipolar patients. [97] Based on results from randomized, placebo-controlled trials, the investigators indicated that this index may provide a measure of the relative preventive antimanic versus antidepressive efficacy of drugs that are used to treat bipolar disorder. [97] They defined a Polarity Index value greater than 1.0 as having a relative greater antimanic prophylactic efficacy, whereas a value less than 1.0 would have a relative greater antidepressive efficacy. The following are this study’s polarity indices results for maintenance drugs in bipolar disorder [97] :

  • Risperidone: 12.09

  • Aripiprazole: 4.38

  • Ziprasidone: 3.91

  • Olanzapine: 2.98

  • Lithium: 1.39

  • Quetiapine: 1.14

  • Lamotrigine: 0.40

Note that Popovic et al indicated the respective polarity indices for valproate and oxcarbazepine were potentially unreliable owing to the failure of their maintenance trials. [97]

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