Monday, January 18, 2010

Drug therapy for borderline personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is characterised by persistently unstable moods, inability to control one's impulses, problems getting on with other people and a poor self image. People with BPD have difficulty forming relationships, can be aggressive, harm themselves and have suicidal thoughts. It is thought that at any one time about 0.7% of the population have BPD with 5.9% of people getting it at some point in their lives. BPD often goes together with mood, anxiety disorders and substance-abuse problems and suicidal behaviour is reported to occur in up to 84% of people. In an article in the January 2010 edition of the British Journal of Psychiatry a team of researchers reviewed studies into the use of drugs to treat BPD. The team looked at 27 different studies and found that the most effective drugs were the mood stabilizers topiramate, lamotrigine and valproate semisodium and the antipsychotic drugs aripiprazole and olanzapine. However, most of the findings were based on single, small studies and there was little evidence that SSRI (serotonin specific reuptake inhibitors) antidepressants were effective. The review concluded that although some of the symptoms of BPD could be tackled on an individual basis by drugs there was little that could influence the overall severity of the condition.

Lieb, Klaus ... [et al] - Pharmacotherapy for borderline personality disorder: Cochrane systematic review of randomised trials British Journal of Psychiatry January 2010, 196(1), 4-12

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