Background: Apparent comorbidity between bipolar disorder (BD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common condition in psychiatry, but treatment of BD-OCD remains a clinical challenge. Although serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) are the first line treatment for OCD, they can induce mood instability in BD. An optimal treatment approach remains to be defined. Methods: A systematic review was conducted on aripiprazole augmentation in treating comorbid BD-OCD patients. Relevant papers published through August 31st 2018 were identified searching the electronic databases MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO and the Cochrane Library. Results: Aripiprazole augmentation to mood stabilizers (lithium carbonate, valproate), even at low doses (10–15 mg/day), helped to achieve significant remission in affective and obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Aripiprazole was generally safe and well tolerated. Limitations: Most studies are case reports. Enrolment of subjects mainly from outpatient specialty units might have introduced selection bias and limited community-wide generalizability. Conclusions: Keeping in mind scantiness and heterogeneity of the available literature, the best interpretation of the available evidence appears to be that aripiprazole augmentation to mood stabilizers, even at low doses, is effective in BD-OCD patients.
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