Identifying patterns in treatment response profiles in acute bipolar mania: a cluster analysis approach

Lipkovich, Ilya A.; Houston, John P.; Ahl, Jonna
January 2008
BMC Psychiatry;2008, Vol. 8, Special section p1
Academic Journal
Background: Patients with acute mania respond differentially to treatment and, in many cases, fail to obtain or sustain symptom remission. The objective of this exploratory analysis was to characterize response in bipolar disorder by identifying groups of patients with similar manic symptom response profiles. Methods: Patients (n = 222) were selected from a randomized, double-blind study of treatment with olanzapine or divalproex in bipolar I disorder, manic or mixed episode, with or without psychotic features. Hierarchical clustering based on Ward's distance was used to identify groups of patients based on Young-Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) total scores at each of 5 assessments over 7 weeks. Logistic regression was used to identify baseline predictors for clusters of interest. Results: Four distinct clusters of patients were identified: Cluster 1 (n = 64): patients did not maintain a response (YMRS total scores ≤ 12); Cluster 2 (n = 92): patients responded rapidly (within less than a week) and response was maintained; Cluster 3 (n = 36): patients responded rapidly but relapsed soon afterwards (YMRS ≥ 15); Cluster 4 (n = 30): patients responded slowly (≥ 2 weeks) and response was maintained. Predictive models using baseline variables found YMRS Item 10 (Appearance), and psychosis to be significant predictors for Clusters 1 and 4 vs. Clusters 2 and 3, but none of the baseline characteristics allowed discriminating between Clusters 1 vs. 4. Experiencing a mixed episode at baseline predicted membership in Clusters 2 and 3 vs. Clusters 1 and 4. Treatment with divalproex, larger number of previous manic episodes, lack of disruptive-aggressive behavior, and more prominent depressive symptoms at baseline were predictors for Cluster 3 vs. 2. Conclusion: Distinct treatment response profiles can be predicted by clinical features at baseline. The presence of these features as potential risk factors for relapse in patients who have responded to treatment should be considered prior to discharge. Trial registration: The clinical trial cited in this report has not been registered because it was conducted and completed prior to the inception of clinical trial registries.


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