Bipolar disorder is a common and often chronic and debilitating mental illness. The
depressive phase of bipolar disorder contributes the largest portion of the disorder, and
treatment resistant bipolar depression represents a significant public health problem.
Recent research has suggested that bipolar depression is associated with elevated brain
glutamate activity. We hypothesize that riluzole, a drug approved for ALS which inhibits
glutamate activity, will lead to clinical improvement in patients with bipolar depression.
We hypothesize that riluzole will lead to significant reduction in depressive symptoms as
measured by the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D). Additionally, improvement in
depressive symptoms will be associated with reduced glutamate levels in the anterior
cingulate cortex, but not parieto-occipital cortex, both at day two and day 42.
- Male or female age 18-65
- Meets DSM-IV criteria for Bipolar Disorder and is currently depressed
- Current score of >/= 18 on the Hamilton Depression Scale
- Active psychotic/manic symptoms
- Lifetime history of schizophrenia or obsessive compulsive disorder
- Clinically significant medical disease
- Women who are pregnant or lactating and women who are not using a medically accepted
method of contraception.