A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study of Galantamine to Improve Cognitive Dysfunction in Minimally Symptomatic Bipolar Disorder

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Objective:There is increasing evidence that cognitive impairment is common in patients with bipolar disorder. The purpose of this study was to determine whether galantamine augmentation improved cognition in patients with euthymic bipolar disorder. In addition, the effect of galantamine on clinical measures of functioning and psychopathology was assessed.Method:This study was a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel design examining the impact of galantamine augmentation on cognition and other clinical measures in 30 patients during the course of 3 months. Sixteen subjects who completed baseline and follow-up second neuropsychological testing were evaluable (10 with galantamine and 6 with placebo).Results:The galantamine group showed improved performance on the California Verbal Learning Test total learning and the placebo group showed improved performance on the 2 Delis-Kaplan Executive Functioning System trail-making conditions and category fluency.Conclusions:Episodic memory performance was improved in the galantamine treatment group but did not improve in the placebo group. In contrast, performance on 2 of the processing speed measures showed significant improvement in the placebo condition, whereas that of the patients treated with galantamine did not improve. Galantamine may thus have specific benefits for episodic memory, but not processing speed, in patients with cognitive impairment as part of bipolar disorder.

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