A history of the pharmacological treatment of bipolar disorder

Francisco López-Muñoz, Winston W. Shen, Pilar D’ocon, Alejandro Romero, Cecilio Álamo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, the authors review the history of the pharmacological treatment of bipolar disorder, from the first nonspecific sedative agents introduced in the 19th and early 20th century, such as solanaceae alkaloids, bromides and barbiturates, to John Cade’s experiments with lithium and the beginning of the so-called “Psychopharmacological Revolution” in the 1950s. We also describe the clinical studies and development processes, enabling the therapeutic introduction of pharmacological agents currently available for the treatment of bipolar disorder in its different phases and manifestations. Those drugs include lithium salts, valproic acid, carbamazepine, new antiepileptic drugs, basically lamotrigine and atypical antipsychotic agents (olanzapine, risperidone, quetiapine, ziprasidone, aripiprazole, asenapine, cariprazine and lurasidone). Finally, the socio-sanitary implications derived from the clinical introduction of these drugs are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2143
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 23 2018


  • Antiepileptic drugs
  • Antipsychotic drugs
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Lithium
  • Mood stabilizer drugs
  • Pharmacological treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'A history of the pharmacological treatment of bipolar disorder'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this