A new drug can cause a delay between psychotic episodes, according to research.
The study, published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, reveals that patients with manic depression who were treated with the drug Abilify (aripiprazole) saw a "significant" delay in the time between one episode and another.
Abilify is being jointly produced by Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and Otsuka Pharmaceutical.
"Bipolar I disorder is a lifelong episodic illness. These findings are important because they support existing Abilify data for delaying the recurrence of mood symptoms," said Dr Roger McIntyre from the University of Toronto.
"In fact, a recent study showed that nearly 50 per cent of individuals who respond to initial treatment had relapses within two years, underscoring the importance of long-term maintenance treatment."
There are no results as yet to support the theory that the drug can prevent an initial episode.